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Old 12-17-2007, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Boise
2,684 posts, read 6,887,702 times
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Just saw something about this on another thread. NASA is a money pit that has achieved little since the moon landing. So why are we still wasting money on it? If we privatized the space program we would be light years ahead of where we are now in space exploration. Everyone knows the government sucks at doing just about everything. Let's stop wasting money and send space exploration to the private sector and turn a profit instead of another Washington based money pit.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:54 AM
 
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The only reason it ever became such a money pit was because Russia decided to go up. We couldn't let them beat us, so we started dumping tons of money into a program that has provided us little more than interesting data. I guess some people find it cool and interesting, but to think of what we could have done with a few hundred billion over the last 5 decades, wow.

I agree, scrap NASA, make them come up with their own funds. We have people dying of hunger in America, we can do without neat pictures of a robot driving around on a planet devoid of life.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:58 AM
 
2,776 posts, read 3,985,269 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinFromBoise View Post
Just saw something about this on another thread. NASA is a money pit that has achieved little since the moon landing. So why are we still wasting money on it? If we privatized the space program we would be light years ahead of where we are now in space exploration. Everyone knows the government sucks at doing just about everything. Let's stop wasting money and send space exploration to the private sector and turn a profit instead of another Washington based money pit.
Supposedly, a US Government run space program could leverage (at least in theory) more money than private investors while also ensuring that any technology developed is used not just for profit but for the benefit of US citizens.

I agree that the reality doesn't seem so rosy but I think it is because of decades of funding cutbacks and program cancellations. There's simply a lot of people in US Government who when looking to free up money, look towards NASA. I think that it is shameful that we don't spend more but I recognize that I am in the minority in thinking that the space program is an investment in our future.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,078 posts, read 11,065,699 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinFromBoise View Post
Just saw something about this on another thread. NASA is a money pit that has achieved little since the moon landing.
That's wholly untrue. NASA is responsible for advancements in both airline safety and space exploration. Air traffic is at all-time highes, while accidents are at all-time lows (in the United States). Everyone in the US uses satellite systems (cell phone, internet, tv, GPS) on a daily basis. The groundwork for those systems was laid by NASA and only followed on by the private sector once the government paved the way.

There are thousands of high-tech spinoffs (from contact lenses to medical proceedures) from NASA research that would not have been funded by a private organization, and the research is ongoing.

Quote:
So why are we still wasting money on it? If we privatized the space program we would be light years ahead of where we are now in space exploration.
Untrue. If we privatized the space program there would be no US presence in space. The only spacefaring nations would be Russia and China. The investment cost is just too high to be borne by private industry.

The buzz generated by SpaceX, Rutan, and others has fizzled after two successive Falcon rockets went in the drink, and a explosion during testing at Mojave set Scaled Composites/Virgin Galactic by years and made them take a long hard look at the seat-of-your-pants flying that kills people when it comes to the high-energy systems required for spaceflight.

Quote:
Everyone knows the government sucks at doing just about everything. Let's stop wasting money and send space exploration to the private sector and turn a profit instead of another Washington based money pit.
Spaceflight is mostly privatized as it is. NASA comes up with basic designs and then farms them out to contractors in pursuit of efficiency. Besides advanced research (Marshall, Goddard, Ames, etc.), human spaceflight command (Houston), and launch pad operations (Kennedy), very little work is done in-house by NASA.

Furthermore, NASA's budget is less than 1/2 of 1% (0.5%) of the federal budget. Much less if you count the war in Iraq. Give the military NASA's budget dollars and you get one stealth bomber and an F-15's landing gear.

Space isn't profitable yet, even with technological spinoffs. Turning it over to private industry will simply freeze US space exploration and allow China (or other nations) to surpass us and claim resources that they will then keep out of our reach.

There is definately fat that could be cut out of NASA, but there are also a lot of promising-but-underfunded that would yield some big results with enough resources. If you want to hunt down government boondoggles, there are much better targets.
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Old 12-17-2007, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Northridge/Porter Ranch, Calif.
24,511 posts, read 33,317,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
That's wholly untrue. NASA is responsible for advancements in both airline safety and space exploration. Air traffic is at all-time highes, while accidents are at all-time lows (in the United States). Everyone in the US uses satellite systems (cell phone, internet, tv, GPS) on a daily basis. The groundwork for those systems was laid by NASA and only followed on by the private sector once the government paved the way.

There are thousands of high-tech spinoffs (from contact lenses to medical proceedures) from NASA research that would not have been funded by a private organization, and the research is ongoing.
True. I've read that there have been quite a few medical discoveries and advances due to NASA.
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Old 12-17-2007, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Boise
2,684 posts, read 6,887,702 times
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Ok you guys sold me, your reasoable counter argument made sense.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Hell
606 posts, read 699,307 times
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The investment is really a good deal. NASA can help United States occupy resource in space and develop powerful weapons. How can US bully small countries without strong military force?
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:18 PM
LM1
 
Location: NEFL/Chi, IL
833 posts, read 998,752 times
Reputation: 344
NASA isn't actually a "bad" thing, but in my opinion, the model needs to be updated. I'd much rather see it converted into a national center for scientific advancement, rather than simply a "space agency".

I'm not against the government funding science and research and that's precisely what NASA has become, using space travel as the "vehicle" for research. With that said, I *DO NOT* believe that NASA has enough private industry involvement, even though sponger42 claims as such. Yes, there is some (particularly on the fabrication end) but there is an enormous central "administrative" boondoggle at NASA that isn't needed, also, they do employ (federally) a lot of fields that would probably serve the economy better if they were done in the private sector.

Furthermore, I believe space travel should be a decentralized concept.
I believe that private industry *could* do the job profoundly better than the government- we just have yet to properly incentivize the goal.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:25 PM
 
4,739 posts, read 10,443,387 times
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ducksburg - all your space are belong to us...
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:25 PM
 
8,289 posts, read 13,567,226 times
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NASA is probably one of the best investments we ever made as a nation with all of the medical & scientific benefits derived from space research. By the way NASA does charge companies millions to launch their satelitte payloads so it isn't exactly a money pit.
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