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The NASA budget, and other space stuff

by Dan Burns on April 12, 2017

marslandscapeIt so happens that the date of my birth, 4/12/61, is the same date on which Yuri Gagarin became the first human launched into space. So I’m doing one of my very occasional looks at the U.S. space program.
– This actually isn’t much of a surprise, though I too expected the NASA budget would be hit harder. Plenty of right-wingers in Congress have actually long tended to support solid funding, to show our technological superiority over the Soviets (To be clear, I typed “Soviets” on purpose, as that’s where many wingnut heads really are pretty much still at).

Make no mistake: the U.S. science community—particularly in the areas of health, energy, geology, and environmental research—will suffer if (Trump’s budget) is enacted.
But relative to the dismal news throughout the rest of government and the scientific community, NASA did well. The space program would still be cut, but the amount is much less than many other agencies. It stands to lose 0.8% relative to 2016, down about $200 million from $19.3 billion.
(The Planetary Society)

– This is the coolest space thing online that I’ve dealt with. It’s about the Apollo 11 landing. Takes 20 minutes or so, and works better with headphones.

– Is the International Space Station a boondoggle? Up until a couple of years ago my answer was “He*l, yes!” but I’ve mellowed. During my search this morning while writing this I found almost no recent material addressing the issue, so apparently the question has fallen off most others’ radar, as well. This, from 2013, presents both sides.

– Gotta admit that the plan for getting the James Webb Space Telescope to work makes me nervous. But I felt the same about the landing plan for the Curiosity Rover.


– There is a major lull happening for new exploration missions beyond Mars.

– On privatizing the space program. Cuts through some crap and looks at the pros and cons. I, personally, recognize that it’s probably going to continue to happen, to some extent, whatever I might think.

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