Campaign '08

Obama: NASA “no longer associated with inspiration”

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, on the campaign trail in Casper, Wyoming, was asked a question about the space program during an event, according to “The Swamp”, a blog operated by Tribune’s Washington bureau. Obama responded that while he “believe[s] in the final frontier”, he thought NASA had lost focus and was no longer inspirational to youth. The report indicated, but did not directly quite Obama as saying, that he would cut NASA’s budget if elected “until the mission is clearer”. It’s language similar to what he said in a Cleveland TV interview last week, but a little more concise.

The full exchange:

During the question-and-answer portion of an event at a recreational center here, Obama was asked about the nation’s space program.

“I grew up on Star Trek,” Obama said. “I believe in the final frontier.”

But Obama said he does not agree with the way the space program is now being run and thinks funding should be trimmed until the mission is clearer.

“NASA has lost focus and is no longer associated with inspiration,” he said. “I don’t think our kids are watching the space shuttle launches. It used to be a remarkable thing. It doesn’t even pass for news anymore.”

70 comments to Obama: NASA “no longer associated with inspiration”

  • I wish he’d be bolder and just say he’d shut down manned space.

    That’d get him at least one more vote.

  • Bill Vroom

    Obama will fix your computer! What more do you want? explains it all.

  • Stubber: That’d get him at least one more vote.

    Perhaps so, but if he really believes in what he said, he’ll invest as necessary for human spacecraft to “boldly go” on “five year mission[s]” to “where no[one] has gone before.”

    Otherwise, he’s lying, and should explicitly state that he believes we should stay at home and send robots. If he really thought that’s what the nation (as opposed to a vocal subset of scientists) wanted, that’s what he’d say. He knows better, and so should we.

    — Donald

  • MarkWhittington

    That’s a rather strange idea. If Obama believes NASA “lacks focus”, then it would be part of his job as POTUS to give it focus through policy. Cutting the space agency’s budget is just a means of crippling the space program and using it as a cash cow for social programs.

  • The People

    Right on, Obama! Any who saw the Gen Y presentation at the recent Exploration Conference would see why Mr. O is resonating on this topic and others. Face it old guys, recreating what grandpa did in the 60’s just ain’t going to cut it anymore. Get with the program. Science leads (NASA); Entrepreneurs follow (industry); and National Security protects assets (DOD).

  • Veritas

    Obama’s an empty suit not worthy to carry Marburger’s jock strap.

  • canttellya

    That’s a rather strange idea. If Obama believes NASA “lacks focus”, then it would be part of his job as POTUS to give it focus through policy.

    I basically agree. The VSE is sound policy–what Obama would need to do as president is to install an administrator who would actually implement the VSE rather than try to sustain a workforce built around an anachronism (STS/ISS).

    Unfortunately, an Obama administration would probably ignore NASA for many months while Griffin continues to drive the agency into a brick wall at ever increasing velocities.

  • Al Fansome

    WHITTINGTON: If Obama believes NASA “lacks focus”, then it would be part of his job as POTUS to give it focus through policy.

    Since I have been so critical of Mr. Whittington on other occasions, let me say that I do agree with him on this topic.

    I would hope that Obama’s first priority with regards to NASA would be to transform it, so that NASA was the inspiration he remembered as a kid. That does not require throwing money at NASA — but it does require some thinking, and bringing in an Administrator who was a change agent.

    – Al

  • Ray

    If Obama as President doesn’t like how NASA is being run, he should run it better. It doesn’t follow that NASA funding should be trimmed.

    If its mission isn’t clear and NASA has lost focus (and actually I think the VSE gives it a pretty clear mission, but Obama may or may not agree with that mission), he should make the mission clear and focused. There’s plenty of time between now and the next Administration for candidates to decide this kind of thing. It’s not as if he’d need to wait until President (assuming he gets there), trim the budget while figuring out what to do with NASA, and then perhaps raise it again.

    Whether or not kids are watching space shuttle launches isn’t the issue. The shuttle’s job will be almost done by the time the next administration starts. If NASA is no longer associated with inspiration, but should be, then change its mission so it is associated with inspiration.

    Obama’s comments reflect public sentiment. NASA’s human spaceflight program isn’t seen as inspirational any more. Most people don’t watch Shuttle launches. I don’t. The next big human mission, going to the Moon, should take care of this particular “problem”. However, the ESAS plan takes too long for the public to care. Who is excited about a Moon mission than might take place, maybe, in 2020?

    The solution, for someone like Dr. Griffin to try to implement before the next President gets in office? Get early results through more robotic missions. Add NASA incentives to the Google Lunar X PRIZE to encourage the competitors to achieve tasks related to NASA’s mission to create a link between a competition the public likes and NASA. The public is interested in rovers, especially with lots of visual data. Scale back the ESAS architecture (e.g.: 2 astronauts per landing) so it can produce sooner, or give Ares I/Orion an interim job like satellite servicing. Send business to the startups, which the public is interested in.

    From Obama’s point of view, what if he doesn’t like the VSE? Then get NASA working on something useful and inspirational his constituents would like. Maybe that has a lot to do with inspiring education, which can be done in a lot of ways. Maybe it has to do with environmental monitoring. By all means tilt the scales towards the robotic side if the mission requires it. Unfortunately, if, as Obama has advocated, he’d finish Ares 1 and Orion, and increase the robotic missions with emphasis on Earth observation, he’s not going to find a whole lot of money left over to trim.

  • d garcia

    It doesnt take a rocket scientist to realize that we are $9 trillion in debt, running a $400 billion deficit, economy in the crapper, and have a $600 Billion war.

    NASA employees and contractors should get their act together, suck it up, and do with what they got. We dont have the money to be supporting missions to the moon. We have been there. We have done that.

    If they cant do with $17Billion a year, then maybe they should go get a real job and stop sucking off the government. This is a cush federal job.

    Suck it up, damnit.

  • Grandpa Simpson

    Face it old guys, recreating what grandpa did in the 60’s just ain’t going to cut it anymore.

    I guess we should stop sending robots to Mars. We did that in the 70’s (Viking program), and it “just ain’t going to cut it anymore” to recreate that again…

    When Obama was talking about inspirational NASA, he was talking about NASA in the 60’s and 70’s.

    Dumbass grandkids.

  • canttellya

    NASA employees and contractors should get their act together, suck it up, and do with what they got.

    Actually, if you review the pre-ESAS plans for exploration, that’s precisely what they proposed to do. Execute lunar exploration for less (capsule) with what’s they’ve got (EELV). What’s had me flummoxed ever since ESAS came out was how Griffin could have possibly thought that the White House would pay for a hugely-expensive vonBraunian plan to build giant rockets to go to the Moon.

    It’s Griffin and his plans that need to go, and let NASA get back to the planning they had before he showed up.

    (There used to be a page where you could read all the older, pre-ESAS reports. That link appears to be removed. Here’s what a google search turned up. There used to be a lot more than this available.)

  • anon2

    CANTTELLYA: (There used to be a page where you could read all the older, pre-ESAS reports. That link appears to be removed. Here’s what a google search turned up. There used to be a lot more than this available.)


    Any chance that you captured this information before NASA deleted it?

    Anybody else?

    FOIA anyone?

    – Anon

  • The People

    The People: Face it old guys, recreating what grandpa did in the 60’s just ain’t going to cut it anymore.

    Grandpa Simpson: I guess we should stop sending robots to Mars. We did that in the 70’s (Viking program), and it “just ain’t going to cut it anymore” to recreate that again…

    I’d never propose doing Viking again. MER and the upcoming MSL are far more capable than anything we’ve done before.

    But you do have an excellent point, and it is exactly why robotic exploration is so much richer and diverse. Every mission and practically every spacecraft represents a new challenge. Spacecraft design and systems engineering in this arena is a true art form and can focus on accomplishing on mission objectives as the end result.

    With crewed missions the ultimate objective is to bring humans safely back to Earth. The mission objectives are always secondary and trumped by crew safety. If you disagree, just look at Columbia. In terms of meeting its on-orbit objectives, it was actually quite successful. However, it will never be known for that.

  • Al Fansome


    This NASA website has the kick-off presentations of the eleven companies who won Concept Exploration & Refinement contracts.

    I personally would like to see their final reports, as well as an independent comparative analysis of their work.

    Anybody know where this might be found?

    A FOIA just might be a good idea.

    – Al

  • canttellya

    I downloaded all the presentations–both kick-off and final–back when they were available, figuring at some point NASA might get embarrassed with the alternatives to ESAS being publicly available. Looks like that was a smart move.

  • […] yesterday in Casper, Wyoming, but asked Obama the question about space policy that was mentioned in the previous post. Greg told me exactly what he asked Obama: “My question is about the human space program. You […]

  • Anon4

    Obama is just pure Generation Y, all talk, no focus.

    Obama, quoted by the New Yprk Times. “I’ve been very blessed,” Mr. Obama told the crowd assembled in March 2006. “Keynote speaker at the Democratic convention. The cover of Newsweek. My book made the best-seller list. I just won a Grammy for reading it on tape.

    “Really, what else is there to do?” he said, his smile now broad. “Well, I guess I could pass a law or something.”

    Spoken like a true Generation Y slacker. Great resume for president. So he may well believe that its NASA’s job to create its own policy to inspire, not the president’s.

    Anyway, read the whole story here.

    But just ask yourself, if he couldn’t make it in the Senate how could be hope to do any change as president? To NASA or anywhere else?

  • Al Fansome

    CANTTELLYA: I downloaded all the presentations–both kick-off and final–back when they were available, figuring at some point NASA might get embarrassed with the alternatives to ESAS being publicly available. Looks like that was a smart move.

    Can somebody post the final reports of the 11 CE&R contractors, or point us to where we can get these reports?

    Jeff? Keith? Anybody?

    – Al

  • Brad

    I think as far as Obama space policy is concerned, it’s case closed. In Obama’s vision for America’s future there is no room for a New Frontier. All the trash-talk about no one inspired by Shuttle launches anymore indicates Obama not paying attention to events since Columbia, or more likely just excuse making to justify the evisceration of NASA.

    Obama translated, “There there young space-geek. I like science-fiction too but spacebucks doesn’t buy votes the way it used to and the Teacher’s Unions must be appeased. Don’t you know there is an election on?”

  • Brad wrote
    Obama translated, “There there young space-geek. I like science-fiction too but spacebucks doesn’t buy votes the way it used to and the Teacher’s Unions must be appeased. Don’t you know there is an election on?”

    This is so unfortunately perfect. :)

  • The People

    Anon4: Obama is just pure Generation Y, all talk, no focus.

    Spoken like a true NASA executive.

  • Anon4

    So name one accomplishment from his 4 years in the U.S. Senate, other then his high rate of being asbent when the votes are taking pass.

    For that matter name one major accomplishment from his time as a state senator in ILL?

    Just one from each is all I ask to show that he will be a better president then Millard Filmore.

  • Cheesie

    The thing that I do not like about Obama’s space comments is they do not make sense. He wants take money from the VSE while closing the gap between shuttle retirement and Orion/Ares I development. The thing is there is no real money in the VSE for anything but Orion and Ares I until what would be his second term.

  • mike shupp

    Well hell … NASA’s SUPPPOSED to be dull. NASA’s SUPPOSED to be unexciting. NASA’s SUPPOSED to be slow and sluggish. NASA’s SUPPOSED to be under most folks’ radar.

    Not because spaceflight is innately dull, unexciting, and unworthy of news coverage but because the people who ran the country at the end of the 1960’s — politicians like Mr Obama — decided that “national priorities” didn’t allow for ambitious manned space programs.

    Remember that period, people? Cities were being burnt down by people who — among other grieviances — really didn’t like seeing the Federal government spend money on space programs. And the government was dominated by people who thought that kind of anger ought to be assuaged. So we got a smaller manned program, with a smaller public image than Apollo, because that was politically possible in 1970, and 2007.

    Complaining that the manned space program hasn’t done a whole lot lately is like complaining that we keep spending money on a Coast Guard and a Navy which haven’t managed to conquer the world.

    If Obama REALLY doesn’t understand this, he’s a fool. And if he does understand it, he’s a hypocrite. God help us all!


  • shelby

    so, he wants to “delay” the constellation program, which employs thousands of engineers, union workers, etc. That seems like a good way to boost the economy…or something. These men and women work their butts off every single day, for many of them, it was their childhood dream to help build and create the next shuttle to the moon. If people aren’t interested, help get them interested! Have the liberal media cover the shuttle launches like they cover global warming. At least the scientists at NASA and Lockheed do their research.
    Obama represents a “hope for change” that I do not want to be a part of. In all actuality most of his policy scares me. It sounds wonderful, but it also sounds pretty socialist. I think his policy is good in theory, but it is illogical and not practical. PS, I am a teacher, granted I would love more money for schools, but throwing money at things does not “fix” them. If we want to “fix” education, we need to involve parents. Most private schools’ budgets are raised by the parents, not by tuition.

  • Al Fansome

    SHELBY: In all actuality most of his policy scares me. It sounds wonderful, but it also sounds pretty socialist.


    You contradict yourself.

    In the first paragraph, you are clearly upset that he wants to cut a government controlled program (e.g., socialism), and then you criticize him because his policy “sounds pretty socialist”.

    To criticize him for both, at the very same time, is contradictory.

    If you want to criticize him — then at least be consistent.

    – Al

  • Stephanie

    In order for NASA to do great things, then you need to fund for great things or atleast show a little support – or cut other stuff from the program and not complain about it.

    And, for the commenter who believes NASA employees and contractors should “suck it up”, let me give you a little insight. I make about 30% less as a NASA contractor as I would doing a similar, yet seriously less important job, in the private sector. If you don’t think we’ve done what we could with the budget we have, then you haven’t been paying attention to what really gets done 220 nautical miles above you.

    Granted, it is tough to keep up with when the media could care less when we do things right. After all, there are more important issues out there for them to cover – like dog custody fights and who the celebrities are voting for…

  • Anon2

    STEPHANIE: If you don’t think we’ve done what we could with the budget we have, then you haven’t been paying attention to what really gets done 220 nautical miles above you.

    You mean the $8 Billion space station that you promised to the American people?

    That would be built within 10 years?

    Is that the kind of “paying attention” you are talking about?

    – Anon

  • Anon4


    Nasa would have built it for far less if the politicals were not always improving the design by bringing foreigners in, which is what many are advocating for VSE.

    As for why Obama wants to take money from NASA for education. While I think this NY Time articles expalins his motive.

    “Most prominent among these is the delegate and superdelegate bloc affiliated with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions. In 2004, more than 400 regular delegates to the convention were members of the two unions, making up a group bigger than every state delegation except California’s.

    Nothing like pandering to your delegates. Case closed on the empty suit – AKA Senator Obama.

  • This is typical of Liberal-Leftist/neo-Marxist thinking; supply short term bread and circuses to the masses, guarantee a return on the investment of a key indoctrinational organization that is also a supporter (NEA/AFT), and cut off any long term thinking, funding, developent, or anything else that may enable alternatives to geocentric-static authoritatrian-bureaucratic-hierarchical organizations who already know what’s good for everyone.

    Obama is a neo-Marxist; anyone who does not believe this needs to really examine his history, associations, mentors, and career history. Marxism only used space developments to further Marxist objectives, not spaceflight/space development/space settlement as having intrinsic value.

    We must get beyond using space to support geocentric-static ABHO organizations, and sell space as a key to freedom for the common man and woman in the 21st Century, while acknowledging the large set of obvious mistakes the space community made in its bargain with the devil to get the funding to get to space in the first place. Changing space station designs many times to meet political objectives exclusively, coupling doing science in space and fulfilling political objectives in lieu of space as a place for settlement for everyone who wants to go there is a better, more honest reason for doing anything space,in space, than the pack of lies the space community has aided and abetted in its scramble for capital in the first 50 years of actual spacefaring.

    We need to change our ways, means, rationales, tools, and be honest with ourselves and with the world outside the narrow confines of the space community as to why do anything space at all, or be prepared for flat or declining budgets, loss of politial support for public civil space efforts (NASA) and ceding leadership on the High Frontier to other, more organized nations/societies/cultures who manage to orgainze for success adn actual achievement, instead of arging over moon/mars/asteroids/O’Neill colonies/military/civil space as we in the US are seemingly doomed to do over and over and over.

  • SpaceMan

    Anyone that assumes that ANYTHING a candidate says during a campaign will have anything to do with what that candidate will ACTUALLY do once in office is smoking the wrong stuff. Candidates say what they say to get votes. Once elected they do as they want to irrespective of what they SAID they would do.

    Smarten up folks !

    And a big thanks to Stephanie for helping make things happen. I`m listening to the STS-123 crew settle in as I write this & I will continue to follow the adventure on NASA TV.

    Our future isn`t going to be what you think it is going to be people so wake up.

  • Anon4


    The promises a candidates keeps in office are directly related to who will be angry with them for breaking them and also has the power to keep them from being re-elected.

    Teacher unions have a long memeory and are ruthless about excerising their power. Obama will not cross them, not if he wants a future in politics. As for space advocates…

  • comtnclimr

    Obama may not even be aware of the VSE because he has been on the campaign trail for President more than he has actually been in Washington to learn about it. Let’s see-I was watching local news tonight and saw them covering the docking of Shuttle to station.

    To prove that launches still count as news, check out these stats given out by Deputy Administrator Dale during a speech:

    “In NASA’s history, our website has been visited by over 400 million different users since first coming online, and more than two billion webpages have been downloaded, delivering over 42 million videos and 20 million streams of live NASA TV.

    NASA’s Return to Flight launch of STS-114 commanded by Eileen Collins was the largest single live event in internet history with approximately 438,000 webcasts, even more than the NCAA basketball tournament. When NASA’s Deep Impact mission slammed into the comet Tempel 1 on July 4th, 2005, the website transmitted over 180,000 simultaneous streams of live video, even more than the Live 8 concerts that occurred around the world that same week.”

  • pamela lewis

    People are very uninformed about NASA. The news media would rather cover the New York governor affair of prostituion then give coverage of NASA. iT IS STUPID! I am a aerospace educator for the Civil Air Patrol and I am upset the way NASA is covered. I could you give a whole list a mile long of what NASA has done for education and space benefits. I think Obama is not informed about the space program. At least Hillary is. We have spent 780 billion dollars on the war in Iraq and hardly spent anything on education. The Bush Administration has really destroyed our country and welcome back to the Roman Empire.

  • Neil

    Here’s a GOAL: Get rid of the aircraft carriers (trillion dollar targets), F the world, and start towards a goal of building an American carrier-maintenance craft in near orbit to take the place of water bound carriers.

  • Neil

    One other thing: I know space exploration has to be rationalized to justify it to the general public but can we all just stop doing that to each other? I don’t need such rationalizing just like I don’t need to justify why I go to comedy clubs. Explaining humour is as much a bore as explaining spin-offs.

  • […] Obama has said that NASA is “no longer associated with inspiration.” If the Ares and Constellation […]

  • To Grampa Sampson,

    You clearly do not understand the mission of Nasa. please go to their website and take a look. You might be proud to pay your taxes – at least some of that money is going to make your life better.

    Obama is clueless on reality and will not be President.

  • gwyn wilf

    You folks who want to shut down space exploration are idiots!!! let’s see, what has the space program done for the average american…hmm. non-asbesdos flame retardant suits for NASCAR drivers and firemen, contacts, corningwear,all medical telemitry, heart stints,advanced military superiority with unmanned remote controlled missles and spy planes, fiber optics, or can’t you remember when a computor that sits in your lap now, used to fill an entire building, less than 50 years ago. I could fill an entire page. And do you really want to leave the skies over our heads to China and the Russians?

  • Nikhil

    Obama wants to take money from rocket scientists and give to people who will never be rocket scientists.

  • sharon

    Senator Obama’s remarks demonstrate that he is woefully out of touch with what NASA is actually doing. Does he not realize that images of the destruction in Myanmar were taken by Aqua/Aura, a NASA satellite? That TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission), another NASA project, has vastly improved our ability to predict the track of hurricanes? That ICESaT measures the depth of the polar ice caps? Much of the hard data we are gathering about climate change comes from NASA’s earth orbital science missions. Earth science may not be as “sexy” as the “final frontier,” and the public may no longer get jazzed up about what NASA is accomplishing, but these missions will be invaluable in understanding and mitigating the effects of global warming.

    And he wants to cut the budget? How many ways does the gentleman from Illinois have demonstrate that he’s out of touch before the public twigs to his incompetence?

  • […] do we have Presidential candidates that have spoken clearly on the issue? Well, why yes, we do. It may seem odd, but NASA’s mission in most certainly in our own hands, more so than at any […]

  • […] concrete policy insights there, and it does continue the theme he laid out in earlier speeches that NASA is no longer inspirational and there is a need to figure out what NASA should be doing. But, in the words of aerospace […]

  • Tim G

    He’s certainly no JFK.

  • a_bashful1

    Even though I have been a registered Republican for over 25 years, this election I was convinced that I would be voting democratic. It was inconceivable that anything would have changed that… Until Obama’s statement of cutting NASA’s budget because they were failing in their mission, which he believes is to be inspirational. First off, inspiration is not NASA or any other entity on this planet’s mission. PERIOD. That is a fuzzy statement with nothing that can be measured, so it is a wonderful opportunity for a politician that wants to plunder one part of the budget to boaster another that they want without anything more than finger point and name calling. After the last 8 years we have had, I know that *I* don’t need this kind of BS in the Oval Office.

    I have to say I am impressed that Mr. Obama could possibly find a way to turn me from a supporter to someone that will vote *any* way to keep him out of the White House. I really didn’t think it was possible this election.

  • Anthony

    I am saddened to hear that Obama would push back the Moon missions by 5 years and subsequently delay manned Mars missions until 20??. I was going to vote for him in November but have changed my mind. We need to keep pushing outwards into space and explore – that is mankind at it’s best. It will be a turning point for humans when we reach the point where our earthbound concerns and wars take up all of our $ and efforts away from exploring space in person. It means the human race has defeated itself and perhaps robbed generations of the options they may need someday to survive. I won’t be voting for anyone in November.

  • Ringman

    I agree, Obama is missing the point. I was supporting him as well for his healthcare program as his is the most complete at this point, but I am really dissappointed in this. NASA isn’t about inspiration its about technological advancement and education. NASA is based off of physics and physics is the basis for all of our technology to date. Without physics we wouldn’t have cars, computers etc. And Nasa’s programs are the ways we’ve been pushing that forward. Now we are in an energy crisis and NASA is probably our best chance in finding a new alternative source of energy either through its application on a new probe or shuttle or by finding it on another planet. If we want to cut the budget why not cut it from the trillions wasted on the war effort. Pollution ,lack of healthcare, etc. kills millions everyday, but terrorism nears only in the hundreds to thousands. NASA is advancement and advancement will improve everything including the war effort.

  • LC

    Manned space flight isn’t only about the instant gratification of the data that’s generated during a given mission… The real payoff of the Apollo missions wasn’t that a man walked on the moon… The economics were in the the millions of smaller technical challenges that had to be met to put a man on the moon, resulting in innovations that not only improved our lifestyles in countless ways, but increased America’s bottom line in the process… Unmanned missions haven’t done nearly as much in terms of both creating that challenge, and reaping the benefits of the innovations that result from striving to meet it…

    In human terms, why would I climb Mt.Everest if there wasn’t at least the possibility, however remote, that I might comeday stand on the summit & look down? And for us earth-bound types, which is likely to make me try harder – saving a man’s life or saving a robotic mission?

    To me, it’s especially ironic that Obama would consider reducing NASA’s budget to fund education & health care, considering that I’d wager NASA has done more than any other single government agency to advance BOTH those causes… So much medical technology owes its beginnings to NASA, and no one seems to be disputing the role of NASA in education…

    So while I am deeply inspired by Obama’s speeches, I must say I’m more inspired by the idea of touching the stars…

  • wilson

    anyone who thinks that cutting the space program is a complete and total waste of human brain, ( this most definitely includes Obama)(although i didnt need to hear this to figure that out on my own) this earth is not going to last forever, especially at the rate we are going. We need a solution. I can think of a thousand different government funded programs that we could do without before we ink out Nasa. And we can start by taking away the large salaries of of government officials.(president, vice, speaker, every state senator……on and on and on) I believe that you should not be able to make a living out of being a politician, they get paid way to much and do way to little. And about Nasa having an unclear direction, of course they do, and for good reason. Nasa has an unclear direction because space itself is very unclear, we know little to nothing about it in comparison to what we know about earth. so how do make a clear path when you don’t really know where you are going. I f he doesn’t like it and becomes president then he should fix it not shut it down. Cutting programs like this is not a solution to our problem!! Cutting back on politicians and their salaries, thats another story.

  • People who know nothing about NASA or the Space Program should just shut their pie holes–and that includes Senator Obama. Who, by the way, I will probably still vote for. He just needs to be educated about NASA.

    Space exploration isn’t just about sending humans planet hopping, it’s about tangibles like jobs, technology development, science, human sensory experience and intandibles like event probabilities (involving Near Earth Objects) and hope for the future. OK, so kids don’t watch the Space Shuttle launches any more–should NASA spend its limited funds (tax dollars) on advertising…or should schools hold an event to show them on TV to students like was done in the 80’s? Kids also don’t play with microscopes, telescopes, or chemistry kits any more. Is that NASA’s fault? Or should parents maybe consider an educational gift instead of another Hanna Montana doll or Wrestling action figure? How about people seeking out knowledge instead of waiting for some 30 second advertisement to jam an idea down their throats?
    I have another idea–how about we stop wasting billions of dollars on a pointless, ill-fated, and falsely justified war. Imagine how much money we’d have for education then!
    Oh, BTW, I WORK at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. NASA provides thousands of jobs around the country–and not just to scientists and engineers. In my community, where we’ve already suffered from the loss of steel mills, airport jobs, and other industry cuts to NASA would be felt hard. I have always wanted to work here. As a child I visited often–my family and my school brought me and talked about the great work done here. What happened to parents and schools taking their kids to visit a NASA center? It’s not about what happened to NASA or it’s vision–it’s about what happened to US as a country. It’s about OUR vision.

  • Dixiedog

    One day the space program will shut down if nothing is done. Us lazy Americans will be on our fat butts, drawing welfare, and watching a foreign nation landing on the Moon to take our flag down. We will no longer be a world leader.

  • Idk if the USA is going back to the Moon any time soon but i hear China is planning for 2020. They will be able to repeat an Apollo 8 style mission with the Long March V by 2012-2013. I hope the GOVERNMENT don’t fire everyone at NASA that would probably be a bad idea.

  • […] McCain, Obama wants to provide funding for the Constellation program. He also supports extending the service of […]

  • j

    Obama wants to take all the funding for NASA and spread that wealth around to those who probably have no clue what the letters “NASA” actually stands for, let along the fact that the USA actually did land on the Moon. I doubt that many even know that NASA even exists. If Obama is elected, the History books will record that event as the beginning of the end of creative/scientific/risky endeavors in the US.

  • IronBob

    Puhleeze. The man is a technological midget. Folks, go vote for him but at least have sense enough to see what he’s proposing. He WILL cut NASA and he will cut missle defense. Where does that money go? STRAIGHT TO THE TEACHER’S UNION. That’s really what’s going on here and anyone with half a brain knows it. So you go ahead and vote for this backward moron but just remember, you get what you pay for and so far you’ve played plenty to the teacher’s union to graduate your kids who have the aptitude of retards.

  • Robert

    NASA isn’t as expensive as everyone assumes–they’re barely getting by on a shoestring budget using whatever chump change is left over from other government agencies. Check out the cost of this war, check out the cost of other state departments. I’m an engineer, and although I don’t work for NASA I work with satellites. Almost everyone I knew in school was inspired by the space program. If Obama hurts NASA then many (not all, but a significant portion) will loose interest in science and math. Many kids today don’t even believe we went to the moon because our gov has been so feckless RE: space travel.

  • Today NASA announced the failure of the Phoenix Lander. This monster lemon of a machine was one blunder after the next for NASA since back in June when it landed.

    This is going to be a factor for Obama and it really should Piss people off!

    420 million were blown on this piece of crap and all this does is prove Obama’s point. It’s one of the saddest things in my recent memory – my feelings and energies are now going to be focused on the independent space missions..

    I’m pissed.

  • me

    I think we need another Soviet Union. Someone needs to tell the American people that China, or India, or some other country is going to overtake us. They were told that there was a threat of terrorism, and then they were right behind the government as it rushed into Iraq and Afghanistan (at least initially.) Why not recreate the seeming threat of past decades and tell Americans that the space race is once again the answer. That’s how you’re going to garner support for our space programs and inspire pride in the accomplishments of NASA. If the government tells Americans that there is a threat and that we can beat our opponent in space, then they will get the support they need for change.

  • […] do Obama. Também já dissemos que as maiores críticas que ele faz à NASA é que pensa que a NASA perdeu o objectivo de inspirar gerações, e que os seus orçamentos deveriam ser melhor avaliados. Daí que a sua equipa pediu para […]

  • lizanne

    The federal government is subsidizing the communications industry by financing NASA. It is time these businesses start paying more for having NASA launch their satillites and whatever other services they provide to businesses. NASA should be trying to turn a profit like a business. They have invented lots of stuff yet they have not capitalized on any of it.

  • lizanne

    The federal government is subsidizing the communications industry by financing NASA, it is time these businesses start paying more for having NASA launch their satillites and whatever other services they provide to them. NASA should be trying to turn a profit like a business. They have invented lots of stuff yet they have not capitalized on any of it.

  • Jim

    Are you aware of the appropriated $12.2 billion that our government had for the year 2007 for NASA? What I want to know is why those funds can’t be better used right now on higher priorities like securing our ports and borders, improving our schools, hospitals, mental hospitals, courts, and incarceration facilities, train and employ more police and fire personnel and provide them with the latest equipment, and put more attendants in the post offices so we don’t have to wait for 30 to 60 minutes to mail a package which adds more cost to us. There’s no reason the U.S. cannot improve the infrastructure with the money we spend in space exploration looking at dust and gases millions of miles away that can’t possible matter to us in the next 100 years.

    All of these improvements are much more important to me than any information from the moon or another planet or how the world began, because none of that is relavent right now. They can actually improve the cost of living which will then reduce costs in overcrowded facilities across the country and thereby alleviate additional costs that continue to drain our social services to bankruptcy which is and has been occuring at many hospitals in the U.S.

    This country has problems and they need to be addressed now.

  • First, a new era has dawned which requires a platform of transparency that can only be archived by fostering a culture of honesty and integrity. The general public has a personal stake in all its federal agencies and none seems to be more important and at times more intellectually invigorating than NASA. This agency either, never was a public agency, or somewhere along the way was hijacked by the military industrial complex through a sophisticated network of lobbyists. It can return to its former glory in reaching new heights in academic and scholarly research by utilizing all of its citizen’s talents. Having said that, the administration must come clean on the contents and details which motivated them to have an agency-wide secret meeting on April 10, 2007; in which Counsel for NASA instructed the various agencies not to record the meeting. In order to protect themselves and out of curiosity, many agencies did just that, record those events. General Counsel for NASA then in a panic went flying all over the country collecting all remnants of the recording(s) including DVD’s and CD’s. Counsel then, in congressional hearings, admitted to personally destroying this evidence and sought to convince The House Science Committee (who was all too willing to go along with the scheme) that nothing important about the meeting existed. The administrator must come clean, throw his hands up in the air, admit and proclaim, “Mr. DeRusse you won. It was about a massive blackout and censorship effort”. Further the administrator must revive CFR-1275, “Investigation of Research Misconduct”; which was a law, meticulously and quietly woven together in the Federal Register, and invoke its use against those they quietly enabled to commit scientific misconduct and fraud, including censorship. CFR-1275 was filed in October of 2003 without comment, prior to the second Bush election to deflect DoJ investigation into their activities against us (and others) in the event Bush was not re-elected. With Bush “re-elected” NASA and the politicized DoJ, breathed a sigh of relief and continued another 4 years of misrepresentations against BCC Meteorites and other minorities and targets. If NASA is to regain all of its former glory and prestige it must address and repair these concerns. In essence the Administrator must throw his hands up in the air and proclaim, “You caught us and you won Mr. DeRusse. We continued the years long efforts of censorship, misrepresentations and scientific misconduct, implemented by Sean O’Keefe and I apologize. We give up”.

    S. Ray DeRusse

  • bob krekorian

    NASA and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)

    Bob Krekorian – Former NASA SETI Signal Detection

    The NASA Astrobiology Conference in April, 2008 had as one of its topics, Future SETI: Technologies, Techniques and Strategies. Its premise is that after five decades of negative results from radio and optical SETI searches, there should be new approaches to the problem like detecting the biosignature of an extrasolar planet. This premise regarding SETI is not supported by reality.

    The search for an extraterrestrial civilization is one of the most intellectually stimulating and potentially rewarding pursuits open to humanity. As we approach five decades since the 1959 groundbreaking paper by Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison, Searching for Interstellar Communications, much discussion has taken place on how to detect interstellar signals. In actual fact, very little systematic exploration has been performed. The NASA SETI project and the use of the NASA targeted SETI signal processing equipment by a private organization over a ten year period was especially disappointing in what it accomplished.

    The Case for Extraterrestrial Beacons

    Many ideas have been put forward speculating on the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, their number in the galaxy and their longevity. For those civilizations that become technological and do not self destruct, it is reasonable to assume that some number reach long lifetimes and are still scientifically curious. An interstellar beacon, which has as its sole purpose, communication with other contemporary technological civilizations in the galaxy is quite plausible under these circumstances.

    What would be the motivation to construct such a beacon? Perhaps there is an altruistic code in the galaxy to preserve the history of all civilizations, past and present? Perhaps there would be interest in contacting new technological civilizations like us, knowing that there is a time window (hundreds of years) after the the discovery of radio when some societies disintegrate because of sociological and environmental factors. In all likelihood, we would not be the first civilization that they have made contact with, thus finding one could be the gateway to many contacts. What could they expect to learn from finding one more? They may know a lot and have great understanding of science but the Earth’s civilization with its unique biology and history will be a new one for them to put into the larger context of life in the universe. Maybe they will ask for pictures and sounds from our culture? Maybe they will ask for detailed data on our solar system? This
    seems far more practicable and feasible than sending out an armada of spaceships to explore other star systems. In a way, we would be their interstellar space probes.

    There is another possibility in the quest to find an extraterrestrial technological civilization. Might we detect their internal communication signals (leakage), like our TV or radar? This seems like an almost hopeless proposition and is beyond our current technological capabilities. Let twenty second century SETI researchers work on detecting leakage, should our efforts in this century prove fruitless.

    When one considers all the concatenated probabilities
    connected with the formation of planet Earth, its composition, its stable environment over geological timescales that allowed complex life to flourish, the inescapable conclusion is that millions of sun-like stars will have to be examined to find one that is transmitting an artificial signal. That means the search volume of space could extend from one to two thousand light years. The NASA Kepler Mission which is scheduled for launch in 2009, will for the first time, give us hard empirical data on the number of Earth-like planets in habitable zones, their orbital stability in multiple star systems and the types of stars that have them. This will be quite important in bounding the SETI search space.

    Recently, the NASA Astrobiology Institute sponsored studies of M stars as potential sites where complex lifeforms could exist. Even though M stars comprise about two thirds of all stars in the galaxy, which makes them attractive from a numbers standpoint, they are however poor candidates as SETI targets for the following reason.

    M type stars have an effective temperature of 1/2 and a radius of 1/3 that of our Sun. Using a basic model, one can calculate the habitable zone, the annulus around a star in which stellar flux is sufficient to allow liquid water to exist. This puts the M star planet at about 0.1 AU and it will be tidally locked, like our planet Mercury at 0.4 AU.

    There are a multitude of reasons why biology, let alone a technological civilization would be ill-suited to exist on such a planet. Imagine a tidally locked Earth orbiting a M star where half the Earth, say from 0 to 180 degrees west longitude is in perpetual darkness and permanently frozen down to 200 degrees below zero centigrade. I trust none of us would be living in California.

    If a targeted search is the strategy of choice and detection sensitivity is essential, a targeted search of millions of stars would take centuries to complete. And even if one of these stars is indeed broadcasting, detection could be missed because our detection sensitivity was just not good enough or interstellar scintillation degraded the signal during the observation time frame or the observation is not coincident with the duty cycle of the beacon or we are not sensitive to the particular type of signal structure being transmitted.

    Based on the above considerations, it is logical (logic flows from causality) to expect that our galactic colleagues will make the detection problem for the contact as simple and straightforward as possible. Universality of the laws of physics and the logic of mathematics will govern their strategy to maximize the probability of detection.

    NASA and SETI

    My career with the NASA SETI project included 15 years working with Dr. Kent Cullers (now living in South Africa), the leading expert in the world on SETI signal detection. I never did stop working on the detection problem. During the 1990’s, I organized a team to construct a radio telescope dedicated to SETI research. The team included Professor Frank Drake.

    When I was with the NASA SETI project, one of the scientists told us that there really has not been a new idea with SETI in the last twenty years. Maybe this will all change? I have come up with new thinking in how the interstellar communication link would be achieved. Something has been overlooked. If my ideas are scientifically sound, it is quite possible to make a detection within a decade using existing telescopes and signal processing capabilities.

    The expectation is that the contact/acquisition signal will be an address (pointer), like in the C programming language. It will direct contactees to where the actual communication channel is located. The exact frequency channel of the beacon transmitter may be known. Our astronomical capabilities might be insufficient to receive the text of the extraterrestrial transmission.

    The charter of NASA includes a statement, the expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space. Some of us who were with NASA for the Oct 12,1992 (500th anniversary of Columbus discovering the Americas) SETI inauguration remember the worldwide interest and excitement created by what the agency was doing. Can we not rekindle this exploration spirit with a new generation of Americans?

    NASA already has in place many of the resources needed to begin the search. The NASA SETI project was based on the 1977 NASA SP-419 report. See the conclusions from the report, Yahoo [nasa sp-419] which are still valid today. The 1993 congressional mandate to end United States funding for SETI is no longer in effect. Proposals for SETI grants are now being accepted by NASA and the NSF, but NASA is the proper federal agency to carry out a comprehensive search. The agency should form a small exploratory group, uninhibited by past orthodoxy and take a fresh look at the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

  • […] last year when then-candidate Barack Obama recalled growing up on Star Trek and believing in the final frontier? Turns out he’s not the only global leader who claims […]

  • does that mean that mr. obama has a hidden agenda? if he shut the space program perhaps there would be money for national health care. the republican senators obviously have no one in their families who is in need of health care provisions. or are they just accepting that the rich stay alive and the poor die from lack of health care?

  • does that mean that mr. obama has come to realize that finding water on the moon could upset the whole planetary system? and that the excessive amount of money could be channeled to health care. do replubican senators have no one in their family who is not in need of national health care. or is that the rich stay alive and the poor die from lack of proper health care?

  • leahleah

    uhhhhh…im 13 and i want 2 b a has been my dream since I was 5.why would he shut it down?

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