Congress

Bad news for DeLay, NASA

The AP is reporting that a Texas grand jury has indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on a criminal conspiracy charge. While it’s a long way from an indictment to a conviction, this will at the very least prove to be a major distraction for DeLay, arguably the biggest supporter of NASA in Congress; he will have to step down at least temporarily from his leadership post just as a new battle for NASA’s exploration plan and budget gears up.

47 comments to Bad news for DeLay, NASA

  • The lesson is that spaceflight, not political influence and patronage, should be the basis of the space program.

  • Mark R. Whittington

    I’m not sure what planet Greg is living on. Any space program that is publically funded with be affected by politics.

    My guess is that since this is a political indictment, Delay and VSE survives.

  • Indeed, Greg, what planet do you live on? What part of the automated space program is not dependent on politics and patronage? NASA Goddard is defended every bit a vociferosly as NASA Johnson, or more so.

    Conversely, Mark, Tom DeLay has always cut it close to the edge in politics and propriety, and he has been vicious to his enemies. Do you really expect everything to be sweetness and light when he is down?

    – Donald

  • Sure, everything is affected by politics. There is a difference between that and being based on politics. This post from Jeff Foust has the tone that what is good for DeLay is good for NASA, and what is bad for DeLay is bad for NASA. As if the best argument for JSC is that it’s in Tom DeLay’s redrawn district. If that is really true, then Washington should cancel JSC right now. Space centers should exist for space, not for individual Congressmen.

  • Okay, if you’re going to read all that into Jeff’s post, than I guess I agree with you. However, anything that is true for DeLay and Johnson is also true of Mikulski and Goddard (except that Mikulski is a caring and civilized individual, and I don’t think anyone would accuse Mr. DeLay of being either).

    – Donald

  • Donald: You’re right, what I have to say also applies to Barbara Mikulski and both Goddard and StSci. Except that DeLay has a hundred times more powerful than Barbara Mikulski at the moment, and except that the survival of space telescopes has almost nothing to do with the re-election of Barbara Mikulski.

    Nonetheless, Goddard and StSci may well have been debased by too many meetings with Mikulski. I do not expect a former social worker to be any wiser about spaceflight than a former pest exterminator. If she is as caring and civilized as you say, then that’s great and it is consistent with her training, but it means that she should specialize in Congress in issues like health and housing, not space policy.

    While I’m at it, the budget news about JWST makes the project look increasingly arrogant and out of control. I hope that astronomers can scale it back and generally stay out of the world of cost overruns and political champions.

  • I just hope, like Glenn Reynolds, that whoever replaces Delay will be better at finding and recognizing pork.

  • John Malkin

    This will be a good test to see the strength of support for NASA in congress. I agree the space centers should exist because they merit it and not only as fodder for politicians. I think Mr. Griffin has enough arguments to keep all the centers open unless congress wants to cancel manned spaceflight program. Hopefully we will see other congressman standup and defend the manned space program. The one nice thing is despite the presidential election, support for NASA remains fairly bipartisan.

  • On the contrary, the problem was that DeLay is too good at finding pork. For himself and his allies. He may be unsavory, but he’s no idiot. He knows full well that he is supposed to be against pork. The only reason that he declared that there was none left to cut is that he sealed so many of the pork barrels (for his own district and others) himself.

    In equating bad news for DeLay with bad news for NASA, Jeff Foust unmistakeably implies that DeLay is a lord of patronage and that NASA is part of his fiefdom.

    So I hope that whoever replaces DeLay will be bad at finding pork and good at recognizing the national interest.

  • Greg: “I do not expect a former social worker to be any wiser about spaceflight than a former pest exterminator . . . but it means that she should specialize in Congress in issues like health and housing, not space policy.

    So you don’t believe in a “citizen legislature”? This is especially ironic given that spaceflight — both human and automated, and not just HST — have fewer better friends. You are completely correct when you implie that her friendship is far from “fare weather.”

    I have heard Ms. Mikulski speak in person on two occasions. She comes accross with all of the positive aspects of a kind grandmother. If that were all there was, she wouldn’t be where she is, but she keeps her “ruthless political animal” under close wraps.

    “While I’m at it, the budget news about JWST makes the project look increasingly arrogant and out of control. I hope that astronomers can scale it back and generally stay out of the world of cost overruns and political champions.”

    The whole point of the JWST is the size of its mirror, which has already been scaled down once. If they scale back the mirror size again, or the instruments, they should cancel the whole project and try again when we can don’t have to try and automated the assembly of large mirrors.

    John, I think — or at least I hope — that the support of an expansionist space policy goes beyond Tom DeLay and the benefits to Houston and Johnson. If it doesn’t, we would have been in trouble anyway. If this thing doesn’t have strong, bi-partisan support, it doesn’t have a chance. Much to my surprise, I think it just might have that support.

    As I’ve written before, the current generation of politicians spent their youths surrounded by human spaceflight and science fiction. This isn’t something new or wonderful to them; it’s part of the background noise. That has both benefits and costs to us. Absent other considerations, I would expect human spaceflight to have widespread passive acceptance or mild support, with only a few passionate leaders. That appears to be what we see.

    – Donald

  • Greg: Regarding DeLay, again, I think you are underestimating the power and importance of a strong personality in any government. While I agree with you that having human spaceflight be too dependent on Mr. DeLay is ultimately bad for us, often things don’t happen without a strong leader. E.g., Apollo with Johnson and the current American / Russian space station with Gore. Or, the HST repair, if it happens, and other Goddard projects with Mikulski. Right now, when it is first getting started, the VSE needs strong leaders who can defend it, for whatever reason, against other priorities, and those of us who support the VSE are lucky to have them.

    You don’t have to be a supporter of the VSE to recognize that without strong political support and patronage, it doesn’t have a chance. Which, of course, is the way your political morality blows. I don’t hear you making the same arguements against, say, Mikulski’s patronage of the Pluto mission. It’s on a smaller scale, but it’s exactly the same thing.

    – Donald

  • Mark R. Whittington

    Don, I doubt that it was Delay’s personality that caused Ronnie Earle to indict him. After all, Earle has a history of politically motivated indictments, of people of both parties, including Kay Hutchison, who is hardly a person I would call abrasive.

    I agree with Hugh Hewitt. Dealy will triumph and will be Majority Leader for the next twenty years, if not Speaker.

  • How can that be, when he’s already stepped down, Mark? He may regain the position, but that remains to be seen.

  • Mark, we’ll see. You need political skills that go far beyond strong personality and ruthlessness to stay in power that long, and, while Texas politics is generally not on my radar, I haven’t seen a lot of evidence that Mr. DeLay has those skills.

    – Donald

  • Mark R Whittington

    Rand, Delay’s absence from the Majority Leadership is only permenent if his is convicted, which most suspect is very unlikely.

    Don – Delay is a master political wheeler and dealer. That’s one reason why Ronnie Earle and the people pulling his strings want to take him out.

  • Mark, Mr. Gingrich was also a master wheeler and dealer who seemed invincible. There is more to good politics that weeling and dealing and getting what you want when you want it. With the VSE, the game Mr. Delay is playing is a very long one, and he would be smart to make more friends and fewer enemies.

    That said, you get your political friends where you can find them, and I wish him a few more years — as long as he stays down in Texas. I certainly don’t wnat him meddling in my life.

    – Donald

  • Donald: I certainly don’t underestimate the power of a strong “personality” in government. To a great extent the House ate out of Tom DeLay’s hand. I just think that it’s bad thing. No program that really needs that kind of influence is worth it. If JSC actually deserved its money, it would do just as well with an ordinary Congressman from an ordinary district.

    Like Barbara Mikulski, for example. She isn’t Attila the Hen. She’s in the minority party, and she doesn’t control it the way that DeLay controls (or controlled) the House GOP.

    Even so, the Pluto mission might umbilically depend on Mikulski as you say it does. If it does, they might as well scrap that mission right now. It can’t be worthwhile if their only credible defense for it is in-district patronage.

  • Mark: You have one key fact wrong about today’s news. Ronnie Earle did not indict Tom DeLay, a grand jury did.

    But you are right that Earle et al want to take DeLay out for wheeling and dealing. Illegal wheeling and dealing, they claim.

  • I just think that it’s bad thing. No program that really needs that kind of influence is worth it.

    Here, I strongly disagree with you Greg. Not necessarily in that the results are often bad, but most great achievements in human history have a great mind and / or political personality behind them. Without Imhotep, we wouldn’t have had the pyramids, and maybe not large-scale architecture in stone. Without certain leaders in the army and some thoroghly nasty characters in industry, we would not have humanity’s largest engineering project to date, the United States’ highway and freeway systems. Without O’Shanasse (sp?) and his political patrons, my city would not have had its spectacularly engineered water supply. Without another set of thoroughly nasty characters in my city and Washington, we wouldn’t have had the transcontinental railroad. Nor would I want to see the underwear of the politicians and other nasties who created the airline industry. Without Johnson, we probably wouldn’t have had Apollo.

    Many of these things may be bad things — even I would argue that for several of them — but for better or worse, that is how humanity now advances. Maybe you would like to live as a hunter-gatherer, and there are still some tribes around, but the grand projects that are an inherent part of what humanity has become are as important to me (for a different reason) as they are to DeLay.

    Personally, I suspect that Mr. DeLay is guilty as hell. But, if humanity is going to have a future in the Solar System, at least at first it will depend on characters like Mr. DeLay.

    Peer reviewed projects no doubt result in fewer mistakes, but they undoubtedly result in fewer achievements. Management by committee, whatever form that committee takes, always results in the lowest common denominator — that is, the space program over the last thirty years.

    You appear to like a go-nowhere, answer the odd scientific question space program incapable of making hard choices. That’s fine, if a little sad. Others want a bit more.

    And that is not inherently bad. Even if we succeed, we won’t know for many generations whether it was a bad thing or not.

    – Donald

  • David Davenport

    Who really cares about PeeWee De-lay? Let’s talk about the ruination of NASA.

    Asked Tuesday whether the shuttle had been a mistake, Griffin said, “My opinion is that it was. … It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible.” Asked whether the space station had been a mistake, he said, “Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we’re building in the orbit we’re building it in.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2005-09
    -27-nasa-griffin-interview_x.htm

    Translation: Mickey Mouse Griffin has despaired of today’s NASA being able to fix the External Tank.

  • The only part of NASA that is working right now is JPL, and I don’t see bulldog politicians guarding that like it’s their pet pig.

    As I’ve said before, my advisor believes that JPL has more expertise than the rest of NASA combined (and I see no reason to disagree). Once the politicians lose interest in NASA’s pork value it can once again become a space program, rather than a space-themed jobs program. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • TORO

    California has the Terminator turned Governator.

    Texas the Exterminator turned Conservatator.

    The Terminator knew the weakness of the other terminators, and once he became their target, was able to survive.

    The exterminator for years has hunted down rodents, and now that he is on the other side, they will have a hard time exterminating him. Like a third generation bug immune to DDT, or rat that can actually survive off the soyulent green pellet poison, some how he will Delay the sting and survive… and become all the more venemous and hardened after emerging again from one of the holes.

  • David Davenport

    The exterminator for years has hunted down rodents, and now that he is on the other side, they will have a hard time exterminating him.

    So let’s hope he starts hunting down some Mex illegales.

  • Donald: I do not know what weed you were smoking when concluded that publicly funded projects with ordinary peer review, or otherwise informal approval, accomplish less than gigantic ventures that are pushed by patronage lords. Have you heard of the Internet? Usenet? NCSA Mosaic? The maser? RSA encryption? Google? All of these were invented or started in the standard grant-based academic research environment or its extension to government agencies. (And that’s just in the United States; Europe, Japan, and Canada also have their shares.) They were all far below the radar screen of Congress when they happened.

    Compared to the colossal achievements of the National Science Foundation in particular, Apollo was a minor one-hit wonder. Even though it was at least as expensive as the entire NSF in its day.

  • Kevin: I agree. It should also be lost on no one here that today’s criminal indictment is connected to the very redistricting plan that put JSC into Tom DeLay’s district.

  • Cecil Trotter

    Davenport: “Translation: Mickey Mouse Griffin has despaired of today’s NASA being able to fix the External Tank.”

    That is simply an asinine statement.

  • Apollo was a minor one-hit wonder.

    Greg, I disagree. While the techniques and skills being demonstrated on the Space Station may actually have a greater long-term impact on humanity’s future in space, in any historic context Apollo was the single greatest achievement any of us will live to see. (That is true even in the event that anyone does get to Mars in our lifetimes.)

    While they may be part of the background noice, nobody a couple hundred years from now, let alone a thousand, will remember any of the items you list, whatever there cultural importance today. A thousand years from now, every school child is likely to know at least in passing about Apollo and its importance, just as we remember the Greenland colonies today. Most likely, Apollo will be remembered long after the politician who started the project are forgotton.

    While no one can know the future, you are almost certainly truly and spectacularly wrong, here.

    – Donald

  • Donald: In the absolute it is easy to argue that Apollo is a great achievement. That’s all well and good. But you did not even quote one complete sentence. What I said was, compared to some other American achievements, Apollo was a one-hit wonder. Certainly the advent of the Internet has to be near the top of the list. Of course people will remember the Internet in 100 years. In fact, they will still use it.

    (That is, unless we reach the von Neumann singularity by then, in which case the computers that rule the Earth will use calendars to chart the blink of a human eye.)

    As it happens, I have school-aged children. I can tell you that not only they, but also all of their classmates care 100 times more about the Internet than about human spaceflight. Astronauts are still fun for them, but they are about as fashionable as the Beatles.

  • Edward Wright

    > Apollo was the single greatest achievement any of us will live to see

    In 1901, you might have said that about the Montgolfier brothers.

    I’m starting to think that VSE backers all need anti-depressents. Talk about defeatism.

    > That is true even in the event that anyone does get to Mars in our lifetimes.

    Okay, I agree. Sending one person to Mars wouldn’t be much of an achievement. However, it’s possible to imagine numbers much larger than one.

    > A thousand years from now, every school child is likely to know at least in passing about Apollo
    > and its importance, just as we remember the Greenland colonies today.

    Remembering it in grade school is one thing, but humanity has gone on to do far greater things. We use of the ocean is not confined to staging reenactments of Lief Erickson’s expedition once every 50 years, using an architecture that the Vision for Sea Exploration calls “Longboats on Steroids.”

  • Okay, compared to some other American achievements, Apollo was a one-hit wonder.

    You don’t know that. I don’t know that. None of us will live long enough to know that. It doesn’t matter.

    If humanity never takes another step in space, Apollo will remain humanity’s single greatest accomplishment as long as there are human beings alive. If we end up colonizing the Solar System, or something in between those two extremes, Apollo will attain correspondingly greater importance.

    I dare say your children pay more attention to the Internet than they do to the Greenland colonies and the European exploration of the world; that does not change the latters’ importance to thinking people.

    I wouldn’t care to guess what they’d say, but just as an experiment, ask your children the following question, avoiding both the proper nouns:

    Which was the greater achievement: humanity’s first steps on another world, or a more efficient way to switch information and conversations between people?

    I do not have children of my own (I’ve always said that the best thing I’ll ever do for my children is not have them), but I do have close relationships with some. I know them well enough to know that the answer may well not go my way, but I am curious.

    – Donald

  • Edward, all or most of the achievements you are talking about (I think, since you didn’t state any) use or will use technology, concepts, and knowedge generated by the Apollo project. Even if every one of your arguments is true, that does not “deflate” Apollo’s importance to humanity. We remember the first, generally government-funded expeditions to the New World, and the miliary improvements to ships; we totally igore the vast fraight ships that ply the oceans _bacause_ of those early achievements. If your vision is true (and I think or hope its end result is, though I don’t think you are very realistic about getting there), we will remember Apollo, not every commercial freighter delivering supplies to a mining operation on an asteroid.

    – Donald

  • Paul Dietz

    Edward, all or most of the achievements you are talking about (I think, since you didn’t state any) use or will use technology, concepts, and knowedge generated by the Apollo project.

    Which concepts are those? Space spinoff fans have a way of taking any technology that has ever touched the space program, and inflating the space contribution until it looks like NASA invented the entire field of knowledge.

    (Integrated circuits are a prime example of this.)

  • Paul, I was refering specifically to space technologies. For example, the state-of-the-art in chemical rocketry has been achieved through more than half a century of government funded work on ICBMs, Apollo, Shuttle, X-33, and so on. (Note that this includes minor things like attitude thrusters and their control mechanisms, not just main propulsion.) Especially as Edward and his friends reach for orbit, they will use, if not the actual technology, the base of knowledge. They will be standing on the shoulders of giants that Edward refuses to admit exist, at least in a political or technological sense.

    However, the main contribution of the wider Apollo project (including Mercury and Geminii) was to prove inarguably that human spaceflight was even possible. We say, “of course,” today, but before these projects there was no of course about it. Edward and his friends would have a lot less support and money — and might not even ideologically exist — if the government’s of the United States and the Soviet Union not put more than half-a-century of effort into proving that all of this could be done.

    – Donald

  • Donald: The real message of your obviously biased phrasing is that it’s easy enough to get kids to agree with you about politics. Especially your own kids. So I’m not going to pester mine for the benefit of this debate.

    The real point is that the second European rediscovery of the Americas stuck and changed the course of history, so schoolchildren now learn about Christopher Columbus and so on. And the Internet also stuck and changed the course of history. On the other side of the chart you have failed alternatives like the first European rediscovery of the Americas, the exploration of Antarctica, and (to contrast with the Internet) CB radio and Compuserve.

    So far, Apollo looks a lot like Amundsen-Scott and very little like Christopher Columbus. It looks a lot like CB radio and very little like the Internet. And it’s already been 36 years. Nonetheless you’re convinced that the next century will be different. Whereas I identify a forseeable future that’s not very different from the present, although I can only shrug at the unforseeable.

    Paul: I completely agree that NASA is an accidental beneficiary of spinoff fuzzythink. It certainly is a stupid and irritating mode of thought. And it’s not only NASA, it’s also “the military”. Anything that the Defense Department pulls off the shelf, or any defense grant that could equally well have been civilian, can still be portrayed as a military spinoff.

    The fact is that within the public sector, academia, not NASA or DOD, is the real foundation of new ideas. Certain parts of NASA and DOD only extend or fortify the academic sphere, as NSF and NIH do in a more direct way.

  • And the Internet also stuck and changed the course of history.

    Has it really? Is history — as opposed to immediate culture — really all that different because the Internet is replacing the telephone? It has made research vastly more efficient, and that will have an important effect, but will it change history?

    I don’t think there was anything at all biased about my wording, I just think you don’t want to look at reality in perspective because it doesn’t support your world view. The Internet is an important practical application, but it in no way completes with Apollo as a technological achievement.

    Were the first European discovery of the Americas really a failure? They proved that the Americas existed and that you could get there. Is Apollo a failure? In that sense, no. In your sense, you have no idea; it’s way too soon to say. However, the tens of thousands of years human history of people going wherever they have proved they can far outweighs your example of a few temporary colonial failures.

    – Donald

  • Maybe we can take a poll of the regulars of this blog to see how many think that the Internet is not changing history.

    As for the first European rediscovery of the Americas, which is to say the Viking expeditions, it exactly didn’t prove that the Americas existed. The main written record was some disputed stanzas in some poems. Even the Vikings themselves didn’t know what they had found. (Did they even care?) For centuries most Europeans thought that the whole story was a myth.

  • Edward Wright

    > Edward, all or most of the achievements you are talking about (I think,
    > since you didn’t state any) use or will use technology, concepts, and
    > knowedge generated by the Apollo project.

    Actually, the X-15 is much more relevant to future vehicles than Apollo was. Airships have been the first to cross the Atlantic by air, but 747s are not derived from airships.

    > Even if every one of your arguments is true, that does not “deflate” Apollo’s
    > importance to humanity.

    How is Apollo “deflated” by our going on to do greater things in the future?

    > We remember the first, generally government-funded expeditions
    > to the New World,and the miliary improvements to ships; we totally
    > igore the vast fraight ships that ply the oceans _bacause_ of those early achievements.

    You may ignore them, Don. That doesn’t mean everyone does. Why do you think the Discovery Channel runs shows like “Supertanker”? People certainly don’t ignore cruise ships, which support a huge industry.

  • John Malkin

    The old proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” still holds true today. NASA provides many requirements or challenges to meet their goals. Some small percentage of these requirements are actually directly filled by NASA personnel but most come from supporting private companies, private individuals, government agencies and universities. The distribution I have no idea. In general I would think that NASA provides less than 1% of the overall necessities for invention and even fewer spin-offs.

    I think spin-off inflation comes from the fact that it’s hard to convince the general public and government as to why we should have a space program of any kind, human or robotic without any physical evidence of benefit. One problem is NASA has no way to promote itself since it can’t directly advertise like the pork producers and their other white meat ads. It would be nice if space activist groups spent some of the dues money on general space commercials in support of space. The aerospace companies have done some ads but not really aimed at the general public. This could help balance the media inaccuracies and general inflation of facts. It’s good to have congressional support but a public funded space program will need support from private citizens and NASA spin-offs aren’t going to be enough to merit such spending.

  • John: It is just nonsense to say that NASA has no way to promote itself. I know of no law that prevents it from advertising. But has no reason to spend money on ads because it gets so much free advertising in newscasts and science shows. Many other government agencies can only dream of NASA’s position in the media.

    Spinoff fuzzythink is a direct consequence of NASA’s free publicity, and not any kind of alternative self-promotion.

  • Edward Wright

    > They will be standing on the shoulders of giants that Edward refuses
    > to admit exist, at least in a political or technological sense.

    Where did I “refuse to admit” that?

    There’s a big difference between admitting that Apollo existing and claiming, as you did, that we will never see a greater achievement as long as we live.

    In fact, you’ve now gone beyond that to claim there will never be a greater achievement as long as *any* human is alive.

    That is a very strong and extraordinarily pessimistic claim. It means you don’t expect humanity to survive very long, or you think we’ve reached the pinnacle with Apollo and it’s all downhill from here. I don’t believe either is true.

    > However, the main contribution of the wider Apollo project (including
    > Mercury and Geminii) was to prove inarguably that human spaceflight was
    > even possible.

    Vostok proved human spaceflight was possible before Mercury. And the X-15 would have proven it even without Vostok, Mercury, Gemini, or Apollo.

    The main thing Apollo proved was that spaceflight, using capsules and ELVs, was incredibly expensive. That “proof” helped frighten investors off for decades.

    > We say, “of course,” today, but before these projects there was no of course
    > about it.

    The engineers working on the X-15 and DynaSoar had no doubt that human spaceflight was possible. Some scientists at NASA might have thought the human heart would stop beating in zero-gee, but any pilot who had flown zero-gee knew better.

    > Edward and his friends would have a lot less support and money — and
    > might not even ideologically exist — if the government’s of the United States
    > and the Soviet Union not put more than half-a-century of effort into proving that
    > all of this could be done.

    Even if that’s true, the governments of the United States and Soviet Union did a lot more than Apollo. (The Soviet Union never did Apollo at all.) If you want to talk about the legacy of Apollo, you must also credit it not only with the first Moon landings but also the cancellation of Dyna-Soar, the orbital X-15, the Air Force lifting bodies, and even Lunar Gemini. Delaying the development of low-cost space transportation by 50 years for the sake of a few Moon landings is a questionable good.

  • Edward Wright

    > hard to convince the general public and government as to why we
    > should have a space program of any kind, human or robotic without any
    > physical evidence of benefit.

    Every Shuttle flight is covered on television. Millions of people have watched Shuttle flights live.

    Hundreds of airshows take place every year, but no one questions why we should have airshow programs. They don’t insist that airshow performances be justified by flying science fair experiments or by “spinoff benefits.”

    The public doesn’t support spaceflight because of spinoffs any more than they go to airshows because they think aerobatic planes may lead to better carburators. In the words of Tom Wolfe, “They all want to see Buck Rogers.”

    If sport aviation can be justified for its own sake, why not spaceflight? The difference, at present, is the cost. Airshows are affordable. Shuttle flights are not.

    > One problem is NASA has no way to promote itself since it can’t directly
    > advertise like the pork producers and their other white meat ads.

    What makes you think that? NASA has a huge education and outreach budget and their own television channel.

  • John Malkin

    The Education budget request is 167 million down 2.5 million from FY05. NASA plans to chop off about 15 million a year with no change from 2009 to 2010. Predominately it goes to educational institutions which hopefully will increase the number of scientist and engineers in the near and long term. A quick breakdown of the 167 million: 28.4 mil – Elementary and Secondary Education programs to increase interest in science technology, engineering and mathematics; 39.4 mil – Higher Education to attract and prepare students to NASA-related jobs; 10.1 mil – e-Education programs to enhance the education process for formal and informal education; 2.8 mil – Inform education program to bolster the informal education community efforts; 86.1 mil – Minority University Research and Education programs; Additional funs manage by NASA’s scientific and technical Mission Directorates

    Pathfinders Initiatives not included in educational budget is 28.8 million; 3.3 mil Educator Astronaut program; 13.9 mil NASA explorer schools; 8.9 mil Science and Technology Scholarship program and 2.7 mil Explorer Institutes (science centers, museums, planetariums and other informal education institutions)

    Most of these programs benefit non-tax payers or higher educated people that would tend to understand the merits of space exploration and commercialization. Only e-Education and Explorer Institutes are aimed at the general public.

    Shuttle lunches on TV – this coverage is inconsistent and the broadcasters have as much negative information as positive information. Either way how does seeing the Shuttle lunch connect an AVERAGE tax payer’s hard earn money to benefits to paying for gas, mortgage, vehicle repair, electricity, etc… Movies like IMAX Space Station and Walking on the Moon, Right Stuff, mini series From Here To The Moon and many others do a much better job than the news inspiring the general public. The way you reach Joe Public the tax payer is not the same as reaching a space enthusiast. The outreach to the public shouldn’t be NASA centric. It should include the merits of exploration, commercialization and colonization of space LEO and beyond. I don’t know the answer to that but it’s important, just as important as the united lobbing efforts in Washington.

  • Edward Wright

    > Movies like IMAX Space Station and Walking on the Moon, Right Stuff, mini
    > series From Here To The Moon and many others do a much better job than
    > the news inspiring the general public.

    So, with all that free publicity, why do you bemoan the lack of NASA promotion?

    > The outreach to the public shouldn’t be NASA centric. It should include
    > the merits of exploration, commercialization and colonization of space
    > LEO and beyond.

    I would agree with that, but what does it have to do with your previous comment that “NASA has no way to promote itself”?

    NASA probably spends as much on various forms of promotion as New Space companies spend on everything they’re doing.

  • Delay’s job is done. Bush had to reward his chief Republican Goon in Texas, so he set us going back to the Moon.

    Now that that’s accomplished, and some momentum’s going, we can wipe our hands of this stinking bastard. All we need to do after that is to survive the rest of this White House’s term…

  • David Davenport

    Yes, and then a better American nationalist such as Tom Tancredo can be elected Prsident in fall 2008.

    Some other Supreme Court geezers will be retiring by that time, and the new Republican President can appoint some Christian patriots to replace the superannuated Supremes.

    Anyone want to talk about space?

  • Paul Dietz

    Anyone want to talk about space?

    Too depressing, unless you’re in denial.

  • John Malkin

    A space movie does allow NASA and the general space science community to promote its research but I think a movie every couple of years is not sufficient. I would like to see a couple of movies a year. The statement that NASA cannot promote itself was too strong and my meaning is more that NASA and the space enthusiast groups don’t do enough to defend space exploration against the media and misinformation. The existing outreach is more focus on people that understand the importance of space exploration. My point was that the average tax payer doesn’t get enough exposure to positive information about space exploration and how it benefits them. This goes beyond NASA which is only one part of space exploration. One thing that comes to mind is 1 trillion price tag for the Mars mission. NASA either couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything to really counter it when their budget was coming under question. I feel that NASA gets an unfair portion of negative press when compared to other government agencies. We spend nearly a half trillion on Health and Human Services, why doesn’t the press pick that apart. HHS is one of the biggest mission failures of all time.