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The U.S. used to only compete with Russia, but now has multiple other nations to deal with

The U.S. is losing ground to competing space agencies as Europe, China, Russia and Japan continue to make progress in their space programs.  Even though the U.S. still has the most military satellites monitoring Earth, both commercial and civilian space initiatives are severely lacking when compared to its international counterparts.

There are several contributing factors into the decline of the U.S. space agency, though immediate fixes are not evident.  Even though NASA has a long string of success, the unfortunate shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, budget issues, and the looming 2010 retirement of the current generation of space shuttles are all complicating matters.

"We spent many tens of billions of dollars during the Apollo era to purchase a commanding lead in space over all nations on Earth," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said.  "We've been living off the fruit of that purchase for 40 years and have not ... chosen to invest at a level that would preserve that commanding lead."

Although Russia has been a long-time competitor to NASA, the Chinese space agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have continued to make steady progress with its intended goals.

Along with multiple missions to Mars, China is preparing for stage two of a three-part mission to the moon.  The first step in the plan, which is ongoing, included sending a satellite to orbit the moon.  The second step proposes launching a lunar lander before 2010, and the third step involves collecting soil samples from the moon in the next 12 years.

The Chinese space program also has its first spacewalk scheduled for October. Griffin admits China will likely beat the U.S. and other nations back to the moon.

India also has a developing space program that may not have the type of budget of larger space programs, but the country still has had success launching smaller missions that have shown good results.  Its most recent success was a satellite launch in which 10 satellites launched into orbit aboard one rocket.

The U.S. space agency does have its own mission outline for the next 12 years, but may struggle to meet its goals if the Orion crew vehicle is not completed on time in 2015.

NASA used to be responsible for sending other nations' satellites into orbit, but now Russia, India, and China are the three main nations responsible for helping Israel, Brazil, Singapore and the ESA launch satellites into space.

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What do Americans realistically expect?
By qdemn7 on 7/12/2008 3:08:27 AM , Rating: 5
We surrendered our leadership in spaceflight decades ago. All political sides were always willing to trot out spaceflight at every opportunity as an American "triumph, but neither were willing to properly fund spaceflight.

At every turn we had the Democrats crying that the poor, seniors and other Entitlement programs reciepents, were more important than spaceflight.

At every turn we had the Republicans crying about the waste of tax dollars, while simultaneously throwing hundreds of billions of dollars to the Defense Department for every assnine thing they wanted.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By ebakke on 7/12/2008 3:31:16 AM , Rating: 2
...while simultaneously throwing hundreds of billions of dollars to the Defense Department for every assnine thing they wanted.

Like GPS?

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By spluurfg on 7/12/2008 10:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
Like GPS?

Indeed... Or nuclear reactors? Or the internet?

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Clauzii on 7/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Pythias on 7/12/2008 3:58:50 PM , Rating: 4
Really? Here I thought it was an extension of ARPANET and MILNET.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Clauzii on 7/12/2008 4:23:23 PM , Rating: 2
That's true. But that is also why I wrote "as we know it". As I see it, it's a hardware vs. software thing. Actually both US and CERN invented it :)

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By borismkv on 7/12/2008 4:43:08 PM , Rating: 5
The work at CERN developed HTTP and HTML. The Internet "as we know it" is made up of a great deal more than a single protocol. While HTTP is the most commonly used protocol on the Internet, it is far from the only one in daily use. The email protocols were developed more than ten years before HTTP and are still in use today. FTP has existed for decades.

The only thing the development of HTTP did was allow better presentation of images, text, and other media. CERN's development was extremely important for the acceptance of Internet usage for the masses, but to say that the Internet as we know it was Invented by CERN is both technically and factually inaccurate.

By borismkv on 7/12/2008 5:03:03 PM , Rating: 4
To be more specific, HTTP is a small function of the TCP/IP suite. TCP/IP was developed under contracts funded by DARPA in the mid 80's and it *IS* the "Internet as we know it". So I'm sorry, but the Internet as we know it was most certainly developed by the US.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Strunf on 7/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By borismkv on 7/12/2008 8:33:16 PM , Rating: 4

Okay look. HTTP could not have existed without the work done by DARPA. It is more widely used than other protocols simply because its used for presentation of data. But there are numerous protocols that HTTP relies on to do its job. The fact that you don't realize that show how little you actually know about the subject. And if there's one thing the Internet has no shortage of it's people who talk when they don't have a damn clue about what they're saying. So stop adding to that surplus. Learn how it all works before you start worshiping HTTP and CERN.

By Ringold on 7/12/2008 8:48:30 PM , Rating: 3
You're all wrong.

Al Gore invented the internet. Case closed.


RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Strunf on 7/13/08, Rating: 0
RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By borismkv on 7/13/2008 1:53:09 PM , Rating: 3
Oh, I'm not trying to undermine it's importance. But it's a gigantic stretch to say that what CERN invented was "The internet as we know it," and you, sir, are greatly over-exaggerating the importance of HTTP. Instance messaging, peer 2 peer file transfers, music download services, *none* of this uses HTTP. Even this forum is not a part of the original work done by CERN. The web today is a great deal different than it was when CERN threw it into the public domain. And HTTP straight up would not have existed without all of the underlying protocols and standards that were created before it. Yes, CERN's work was very important. But the work that went into creating the standards that came before it is much more important.

By BarkHumbug on 7/15/2008 8:14:38 AM , Rating: 1
While I don't intend to argue for either side in this pissing-content of yours (USA vs The World as usual) I don't think you can over-exaggerate the importance of HTTP? Without it how would anything ever get on the Internet, or be seen by others for that matter? I beg you to find one company today that would survive on the Internet without HTML over HTTP, and if you could provide a link I'd appreciate it.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By jmunjr on 7/13/2008 7:49:56 PM , Rating: 3
Wow that's like saying the USA invented national highways rather than the Germans because Henry Ford pioneered mass production of automobiles.. HTTP would never had existed were it not for the Arpanet - period.

Also take a look at Gopher, Veronica, Archie.. Http just happened to be the protocol that won out, nothing more.

The Internet is a whole lot more than just a protocol..

By MrPoletski on 7/15/2008 12:20:42 PM , Rating: 2
Cough, Sir Tim Berners Lee cough

By pixelslave on 7/16/2008 1:29:49 PM , Rating: 3
The HTTP it's not just one more protocol it's THE protocol, it's the one that is more widely used and it's the one that change our habits and basically started the information age...

Wow. Big claim ... so apparently HTTP is used to resolve domain names, manage IP assignment, send e-mails, receive e-mails, monitor network devices, upload files, even download files thru BT, right?

Let's just focus on two non-HTTP protocol. Without DHCP, most people won't even have an IP. Without DNS, you can't reach a website even if you have an IP. So, how is HTTP THE protocol. The bottomline is, without HTTP, the internet continues to survive. You can still check mails, upload/download files, use your favorite IM and P2P apps. Yes, you will lose the web, but the internet will still be here. Without DHCP and DNS, chances are you will lose all those alternative services mentioned above.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Clauzii on 7/12/2008 10:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
OK the well respected CERN is a bunch of liars. I get nothing else out of this...

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Boze on 7/17/2008 5:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
You're getting nothing out of this because you're trying to make extravagant claims under the false assumption that DailyTech is filled with moron readers who will actually believe and/or accept your viewpoint, even when its glaringly incorrect.

By Clauzii on 7/21/2008 1:02:16 PM , Rating: 2
Incorrect? How?

"1990: Tim Berners-Lee invents the Web

In 1989, CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal to develop a distributed information system for the Laboratory. “Vague, but exciting” was the comment that his boss wrote on the cover, and with those words, gave the green light to an information revolution.

Conceived and developed to meet the demand for information sharing between scientists all over the world, the Web has changed the way we live.

By Christmas 1990, Berners-Lee had defined the Web’s basic concepts, the URL, http and html, and he had written the first browser and server software. The Web was up and running.
The Web extends

In 1991, an early Web system was released to the particle physics community. Slowly but surely the Web began to spread through the academic world as a wide range of universities and research laboratories started to use it. The first web server in the United States came on-line in December 1991 at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California. In 1993, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois released its Mosaic browsers, which were easy to run and install on ordinary PCs and Macintosh computers. The steady trickle of new Web sites soon became a flood. 1994 became the year of the Web. The world’s First International World-Wide Web conference was held at CERN in May and was hailed as the ‘Woodstock of the Web’.
Open to all

By the end of 1994, the Web had 10 000 servers, of which 2000 were commercial, and 10 million users. Traffic was equivalent to shipping the collected works of Shakespeare every second. CERN issued a statement putting the Web into the public domain, thereby ensuring that it would remain an open standard, and Berners-Lee moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), from where he runs the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)."

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Lakku on 7/12/2008 4:32:33 PM , Rating: 1
Don't get nitpicky or give Europeans credit where credit isn't due. It was a Brit, pure and simple, who invented the internet "as we know it". He just happened to be working at CERN at the time, but did almost all of the work himself. And, no, Britian/England is not a part of Europe in my book. :)

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Strunf on 7/12/2008 6:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
Then your book is wrong... and BTW the Brit was being payed by the CERN so it's all natural that the CERN gets some credit for it.

By Queequeg on 7/14/2008 2:09:26 AM , Rating: 3
While Berners-Lee and CERN are definitely due credit, the WWW "as we know it today" was really the result of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign) creating NCSA Mosaic with an emphasis on graphics. Previous "browsers" including the one made by Berners-Lee focused on hyperlinked text and looked a lot like gopher and lynx.

The folks who created Mosaic went on to found Netscape, and the rest as they say is history.

By foxtrot9 on 7/17/2008 3:51:10 PM , Rating: 1
Really I though Al Gore invented it

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Clauzii on 7/21/2008 12:55:38 PM , Rating: 1
I won't even cry over my rating. I'd rather cry over the guys that think every invention is from USA and that the whole world centers on them.

Rate me down, if You like, but it's true.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Clauzii on 7/21/2008 12:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, now DT automatically wotes me down max. 5 sec. after I post.... Even without f-words. Amazing!

By glitchc on 8/11/2008 10:48:27 AM , Rating: 2
It's your ISP. Talk about deep packet inspection...

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By AndreasM on 7/12/2008 5:12:57 PM , Rating: 3
Except ARPANET and nuclear reactors were developed before the space program, and one could argue that the GPS system pretty much came from the fruits of the original space program. So the OP is indeed correct.

By borismkv on 7/12/2008 8:35:07 PM , Rating: 3
You know what else came from the original space program? Tang. Yeah. Money well spent there :D

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Cygni on 7/12/2008 3:54:26 AM , Rating: 5
The reality is that the US is still a decade or more ahead of the nearest active competition (I dont count Russia as seriously active in this sector... currently) in space technology, manned spaceflight, and exploration. Can that gap be closed? Of course it can, but its not going to be closed overnight... and that budget gap is NOT closing. NASA's budget was rougly 17 billion in FY 2006, while Chinas was... 2 billion. Oh by the way, the US Defense Department ALSO spent $25 billion on space projects.

The total US expenditure on NASA, DoD, and space programs in general is higher than the rest of the worlds expenditures COMBINED, and frankly it shows in the sheer volume of scientific, military, and manned missions the US supports each year.

While China certainly may reach the moon before the US, that speaks nothing to the incredible science and military value being supported by the US space departments. If we, like China, shifted all of our funding to our (hopefully abortive, imo) return to the moon, we could beat them by years AND do actual science there as well. Luckily, those at the controls of NASA recognize the value of other more worthwhile science projects.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By chick0n on 7/12/08, Rating: -1
RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By FITCamaro on 7/12/2008 11:54:21 AM , Rating: 5
*cough*filmed in Arizona*cough*

I've met a few astronauts who would kick your ass over that statement. Including John Glenn.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By PrinceGaz on 7/12/08, Rating: -1
RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By retrospooty on 7/12/2008 1:00:56 PM , Rating: 3
Come on... That's just crap - we went there in 1969 - the gaff of it all was we spent all that time effort and money and got there only to found out there was nothing of value to see. Hey, its a big dead dusty rock. - WOW.

Still a great accomplishment though

By Sethanus on 7/13/2008 9:46:51 AM , Rating: 2
They did find themselves a viable power source called He3(think non radioactive achievable fusion) in moon rocks, that would be worth returning to to moon for.

He3 is so rare on earth thats its on the order of 4million $ per milalitre, and the surface of the moon is lousy with it.

If i had the resources i would Set up a viable robotic mining and refining site on the moon for He3.

And to hell with oil and its associated problems.

By Brian H on 7/19/2008 1:24:29 AM , Rating: 2
Also, water sealed in tiny glassy globules throughout the soil and in much of the rock. Recent discovery. Unknown if it was part of the original smash-and-clump or the result of subsequent ice asteroid bombardment.

Water permits everything: survival, construction, shielding, fuel.

By P4blo on 7/14/2008 8:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
I was waiting for the pond life to surface. Americans must get so fed up with these people. Or maybe their incredible stupidity is such that you can easily rise above.

Are the Chinese really going to the moon to gather dust? Why doesn't NASA sell them a sample or two for half the price of their 3 stage moon missions? :-)

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By 1prophet on 7/12/2008 1:11:33 PM , Rating: 5
We landed and took off from the moon six times not just once, nobody is going to pull a hoax like that and not get caught.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By ultimaone on 7/13/2008 11:06:53 AM , Rating: 2
plus i think the russians went there too....
did the USA and USSA conspire together !!!

i don't think so...that cold war thing and all

By Queequeg on 7/14/2008 2:24:13 AM , Rating: 5
Probably the most irrefutable evidence that we actually landed on the moon are the retroreflectors left at several of the Apollo landing sites. They're an array of "corner" mirrors - three surfaces at 90 degrees to each other. When light hits such a corner, it gets reflect back exactly where it came from. The same principle is used in bike reflectors and the reflective paint used on road signs.

If you aim a powerful laser at one of the landing sites, you will get a faint return from these reflectors. They're used to accurately measure the distance from the earth to the moon.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By SlyNine on 7/12/2008 1:21:16 PM , Rating: 3
Name one bit of proof that the mission was fake, and watch that proof be shot to hell here.

We landed on the moon. Their is NO proof otherwise.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By louzamos on 7/12/2008 2:14:44 PM , Rating: 5
Their is NO proof otherwise.

and if there was proof, wouldn't the Soviets be the first to point it out?

isn't that proof enough?

By bupkus on 7/13/2008 3:54:42 PM , Rating: 4
Next you're gonna say that "Lost in Space" was filmed on a set in Hollywood and that Roby the robot wasn't real, but just a man stuffed into a costume!

By foxtrot9 on 7/17/2008 3:53:44 PM , Rating: 1
You are just dumb

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By TSS on 7/12/2008 5:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
i was looking at the ESA site how much their budget is, which is about 4,7 billion USD, and this caught my eye:

"How much does each European spend on ESA?

European per capita investment in space is very little. On average, every citizen of an ESA Member State pays, in taxes for expenditure on space, about the same as the price of a cinema ticket (in USA, investment in civilian space activities is almost four times as much). "

you're not losing the lead in terms of spending money that's for sure. but i wonder how "lead" here is defined. so far best i can come up with is "the grandest feat ever performed" because of the landings on the moon. in terms of technology, i'll bet the USA isn't that far ahead of the other nations. i even remember reading about how the people at NASA where baffled about how simple and cost effective the russian space technology was. the famous 20 million dollar pen vs pencil is the best example there. also don't forget your spending 1 billion per shuttle launch. after the shuttle, the russians will be moving stuff the the ISS and most likely at a fraction of that cost. orion will be cheaper, or so NASA is hoping.

all in all i'd wish there wasn't a space race to begin with, more a cooperation to get to a new planet. sure, china may reach the moon in 2015, the USA might get there around 2025, ESA and JAXA aim around 2020.... how about all of them work together and establish the first lunar colony in 2012? IMO beats taking turns looking at rocks.

By osalcido on 7/13/2008 9:19:58 AM , Rating: 2
There's so much misinformation in this post, it's incredible.

First off, the astronaut pen you speak of was developed by an independent company of NASA (i.e. No Tax dollars wasted). NASA agreed to let the company market the pen as an astronaut pen if they did all the leg work.

Second, yes the Russians are able to reach space at a fraction of the cost but, did you ever wonder why?

Hmm why would something with a payload capacity of 50,000 lbs to high earth orbit cost more than a rocket with a 15,000 lbs payload to low earth orbit?


By Regs on 7/12/2008 6:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
that speaks nothing to the incredible science and military value being supported by the US space departments

Exactly. I thought the whole point in NASA was to investigate, explore, and actually discover. The whole race does not make sense to me if we are not getting anything out of it. Money in = discovery out. Another trip to the moon, in my mind, won't lead us to any more significant discovery than a trip to Mars or other planets in our solar system. Maybe it will lead us to a resource or technology where we could have cheap and clean fuel here at home. Crazier things have happened!

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Ringold on 7/12/2008 8:41:05 PM , Rating: 1
The reality is that the US is still a decade or more ahead of the nearest active competition

I think the one way that view is rational is if one looks only at today and the recent past, rather than incorporating a forward looking view. Perhaps we had technology or abilities ten or more years ago that they're only mastering today, true. However, they will soon have capability that we do will not, and they'll have it in less than ten years. It's not at all clear if the next President will support Ares V development, which would render Orion in to nothing but a cute taxi-cab for the ISS, with none of the capability of space shuttle. Obama has spoke in the past about diverting resources to education spending, and McCain wants a freeze on federal spending.

With their rate of advancement far outpacing our own, if you wait until they're actually setting up lunar bases before saying "Yes, okay, perhaps they have pulled ahead," then our lead may be impossible to regain.

Besides, where are the economic conservatives / political liberals that take every opportunity to bash trade, etc? This is probably one of the few policy options that it might make some sense to take a nationalist view on; for example, requiring the vast majority of all components to be American-made. It wouldn't be as cost effective to do it that way, but it would give legions of engineers experience they wouldn't of otherwise had and companies all kinds of technologies they wouldn't of otherwise stumbled upon or been able to research. And they'd all be right here, in America, ready to give America a competitive advantage. Even if all a sustained manned space exploration (rather than manned low earth orbit exploration) project did was inspire more kids to switch from soft-ball liberal arts majors to engineering degree programs, it would be a huge win for the nation.

As for the science debate, whatever. People talk like a focus on getting men someplace in a rush somehow precludes science instruments going along with them. In case no one noticed, the vast cost and effort is consumed by getting the humans there. Just a little extra coin and all the science equipment you want can come along as well, and with human masters with flexibility and instant control impossible to replicate with robotics.

But go ahead, lets stick to small steps, small programs, and keep boldness to a minimum. We can be like, say, Portugal; an irrelevant country on an irrelevant peninsula, attached to an irrelevant continent, which has contributed nothing to mankind that other parts of the world couldn't have done just as easily for half a century. Well, except for beer.

By Ringold on 7/12/2008 8:46:56 PM , Rating: 3
Not to even mention, it might give America as a country some achievement to be proud of. Even the most staunch Republican must admit we've half-assed virtually everything we've done, and not just the last 8 years but for the last couple decades. In that sense, then, something to be proud of is sorely needed. Yet another fringe benefit.

By niaaa on 7/18/2008 8:46:44 AM , Rating: 2
Portugal discovered America you know...One of the greatest sea nations ever.

And the irrelevant continent is where you come from.

There is a world outside USA....

By Ytsejamer1 on 7/12/2008 10:25:14 AM , Rating: 4
I think most of you are all correct...depending on how you look at it and what type of argument you want to make based on the facts.

For me, the long and short of it is that we are losing ground in the space race in general terms. Yes we've been to the moon...unfortunately the only dozen or so men will soon be gone and that's it. Like in the movie Apollo 13 stated...what if Columbus found the Americas and never returned? I think we're not putting the focus on continuing to grow and reach further out into space. With all the technology we have and could possibly develop if given the proper attention, focus, and energy, we surely could be doing more in space and on the moon than we have.

It's just my opinion that it seems our recent focus has been to take pictures, launch commercial satellites into space so corporations can make their money, and fix foam punctures on an aging spacecraft, and not much else...the Mars rovers are probably the exception and we're certainly getting our money's worth on those two machines.

I think we'll have to do another Apollo type investment if we don't start leveraging the experience and knowledge of the people that did it before. A lot of engineers have probably already died...its not going to be too long before they're all just a page or two in a history book and we'll have to start all over again from scratch.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By mcmilljb on 7/12/2008 8:53:18 PM , Rating: 3
We kick ass because no one else can build the international space station without us sending up some of the modules!

"NASA used to be responsible for sending other nations' satellites into orbit, but now Russia, India, and China are the three main nations responsible for helping Israel, Brazil, Singapore and the ESA launch satellites into space."

Then have them send the damn modules for the international space station! Oh wait, they can't! We have to do it. Every other major nation is working on it. If we would just abort it and quit screwing with long, useless projects, then we might actually be able to go back to the moon and then Mars. The international space station was and still is a waste of money considering we're pretty much footing the bill sending up most of the parts.

Lets bust out our 60's technology and go back! Then we can laugh at China while they still try to get there. But sadly, there isn't much in space that we can use with our current technology. We need to work on other things ot make our space travels and explorations useful.

By maven81 on 7/14/2008 11:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
Then have them send the damn modules for the international space station! Oh wait, they can't!

Where do you get this crap? The Russians have launched several of the modules. In fact it's laughable to suggest that they can't do it considering they've built many space stations over the past several decades, at least 5 I believe.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By Viditor on 7/13/2008 12:05:38 AM , Rating: 2
At every turn we had the Democrats crying that the poor, seniors and other Entitlement programs reciepents, were more important than spaceflight. was the Democrats that gave us the huge lead in the first place

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people.
For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own.
Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war.
I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against
the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of
There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet.
Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful
cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal?
And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain?
Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon.
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize
and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.


"This nation has tossed its cap over the wall of
space, and we have no choice but to follow it."

--Pres. John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the dedication of the
Aerospace Medical Health, Center, San Antonio, Texas,
November 21, 1963

By BBeltrami on 7/13/2008 7:08:15 PM , Rating: 3
"Mr. President, there's this problem in Cuba, sir. It's the Bay of Pigs, sir."

Pregnant pause.

President points wild-eyed at sky in opposite direction.

"Look! What's that?! The Moon! How about we go there, boys!!"

Mel Brooks where are you when we need "History of the World, Part II"?!

By masher2 on 7/13/2008 11:05:27 PM , Rating: 3
> " was the Democrats that gave us the huge lead in the first place."

While *a* Demoncrat certainly made the above speech, Mercury/Gemini/Apollo enjoyed more congressional funding support from Republicans than from Democrats. And, from the moment we set foot on the moon, the primary impetus behind funding cuts for NASA has always been more Democratic. long-time Democratic Senator William Proxmire, for instance, was famous for his attempts to shut NASA down.

NASA funding declined under Carter, Clinton, and most of Johnson's reign. It rose under Reagan and both Bushes. In fact, the only Republican president to ever preside over a NASA budget decline was Nixon, and he was only bowed to the drop after stringent demands from both Congress and the public. And in fact, Nixon fought for and won funding for the Space Shuttle.

One can say a lot of bad things about the Republicans. But historically, they've always been much stronger supporters of the space program.

By lompocus on 7/13/2008 2:21:52 AM , Rating: 2
I lol'ed @ this article.

The author is such a retard.

RE: What do Americans realistically expect?
By P4blo on 7/14/2008 8:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
I'm of the opinion that civil/commercial space travel research and investment will overtake government efforts in the not so distant future. Space tourism is soon to lift off with sub orbital flights. Demand for these trips will be so high that big money will be earned and a commercial technological race will begin to win travellers with many generations of hi-tech vehicles being developed. Soon after will come orbital, then maybe trips around the moon and the building of space hotels. After that, if we can overcome our propulsion issues, man's desire to explore will help discover much more of our solar system or galaxy than any government programs ever could.

By Brian H on 7/19/2008 1:32:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, here's a number someone will finally grok:

ONE average rocky 1 mi diameter asteroid, boosted into Earth orbit, could EASILY be mined for the equivalent of all the metals, rare and base, that mankind has extracted in all of history. Approx. current dollar value: $1,000,000 for every living soul on the planet.

By cmptrnerd6 on 7/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: Huh?
By TMV192 on 7/12/2008 2:49:39 AM , Rating: 3
Sure, Columbus discovered the Americas for Europe, but a lot of fame Spain has for that right?
No one said the Moon was the end of the space race except most likely propaganda because it was really the first big time the US overtook the Soviet Union (they had the first satellite and man to space, first space walk, first space station, first landing on Venus etc..). But as the article says, following Apollo, the US space program is on a decline. Especially under poor management like wasting time developing the pointless Ares I rocket.
We hardly did anything on the moon and by the 80s the ambition plans to send men to Mars and robots to Jupiter's moon have been abandoned. If you ever watched like 60s Sci Fi you can tell that while we've excelled in fields like computers, we've also strayed away from where they expected us to be in terms of space exploration

RE: Huh?
By ViroMan on 7/12/2008 3:27:37 AM , Rating: 2
While all that you say is true... you forget that we still beat the Russians to the moon. THAT was our first goal, all the other things were mere mile stones that the Russians had beat us to. Sure we really wanted to have beaten them to those mile stones as well but in the end we still won.

Think of it as literally a race. They get off the starting line first... make it around the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd turns first. Then they get run over as we poured in the speed at the last bit of the way. Do we still say they should get the award, no but, they get recognized in some way as in 2nd place Silver.

I also totally agree that we have a strangle hold on NASAs neck. Stuff costs more to make and test today what with inflation and not to mention we are A LOT more safety oriented then we were back then. Developing new stuff to use takes 3-4 times longer with NASA then any other industrial skunk works or even the military. Things have to be tested under as many conditions as can be thought of and there has to be 3 kinds of redundancy's and a final redundancy encase the redundancy's fail.

RE: Huh?
By TMV192 on 7/12/2008 4:00:54 AM , Rating: 3
Again I don't see when the Moon became the only goal. Von Braun for example started writing about manned Mars missions in the early 50s soon after moving to the US. No one said back then we'll make it to the Moon and be done with. Its just that a lot of people suggest that the first Space Race was over either when the Apollo-Soyuz mission took place or the Soviet Union couldn't keep up funds to complete with NASA and Russia alone later take over. In either case the Moon landings were significant to bring the US to the lead but by no means is space exploration over, and thus the deteriorating lead the article talks about. In your literal race you can think of the Moon as a lap with many more to come

RE: Huh?
By kenji4life on 7/12/2008 4:16:27 AM , Rating: 2
First of all, Leif Ericson, and some others have already been given credit for discovering the western hemisphere before Columbus stumbled upon it.

What Columbus deserves credit for, after realizing that he was not, in fact in the Indian Ocean, is the first European colonization of the Americas.

If you were to say that Columbus discovered the Americas for Spain, or that he discovered South and Central America for Europe, may be more accurate, however you are still taking a substantial amount of credit away from map-maker Amerigo Vespucci, who North and South America are named after. It was he who was first credited with the idea that Columbus had indeed not landed in the Indian Ocean, but in another, yet uncharted place.

Comparing the USA's moon landing to Columbus' landing in the West Indies (read: Haiti) is kind of like saying that you discovered this really great restaurant, and you think it's Indian food when in fact it is a Jamaican place.

But whatever, carry on.

RE: Huh?
By AnnihilatorX on 7/12/2008 2:52:07 AM , Rating: 1
Read the title once again "Report: U.S. Expected to Lose Lead in Space Race", and examine your justification and definition of lead.

US space funding has been dropping while the funding in space programme of other countries is rising rapidly. Having been to the Moon is not the definite judgement of being a "leader" in space, it's very much determined by amount of funding.

RE: Huh?
By INeedCache on 7/13/2008 2:16:52 AM , Rating: 2
What exactly are we "racing" for now in space?

RE: Huh?
By Pavelyoung on 7/13/2008 4:00:42 AM , Rating: 2
Think about it like this. The worlds population is not going to decline anytime in the near future. In fact its just going to continue to get larger and larger. The race we are in now is that of learning how to create viable settlements on other planets like Mars.

We need to expand and the only logical place left to go is up.

RE: Huh?
By Brian H on 7/19/2008 2:30:36 AM , Rating: 2
Nah, that doesn't work. You can't export overpopulation. Not that overpopulation is actually a threat. Except of certain types of politician, lawyer, and others: I've got a Little List. They'll NONE of them be missed!

But there are wealth and resources to be had in the asteroid belt and elsewhere which will allow Earth to be redeveloped as a garden residence, while most of the industrial goods are manufactured -- to much higher quality and performance and efficiency standards -- in space. Yes, despite the gravity well. There are solutions for that ranging from Space Elevators or Fountains on out.

Funding trick
By James Wood Carter on 7/12/2008 7:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
I think the report published is to get the media attention so that they can get more funding for their space projects.
Personally i don't care which country makes it first or last, thats what kids do ... they race on everything and make it into a competition. I remember Armstrong stating: "One small step for man, giant leap for mankind" Notice its mankind and not just US.

RE: Funding trick
By Ringold on 7/12/2008 8:56:09 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah. It's nothing but a lot of children at the Olympics, a lot of children in professional sports, and a lot of children in the business world who, through their childish competitive pressures, constantly churn the wheels of innovation, lower prices, and prosperity -- in the tune of a better than 400m reduction in poverty in China (after competitive, free-market reforms).

I'll point it out before. Stagnation, in the economy and politically, has throughout history seemed to occur when people lose their fire, like how your post exemplifies.

RE: Funding trick
By James Wood Carter on 7/13/2008 11:21:28 AM , Rating: 2
There is no doubt that competition leads to improvement in technology, and as i said this report is aimed at increasing funding.
I never said that competition is bad, while competition in most situations important, some competition in my opinion arenot for the better.

RE: Funding trick
By ksuWildcat on 7/14/2008 2:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
It's nothing but a lot of children at the Olympics

'Roided out freaks would be more like it. But seriously, I don't think the other poster meant that all competition is bad, rather they were making a point that sometimes competition can produce additional problems.

RE: Funding trick
By James Wood Carter on 7/15/2008 7:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
bang on!yes thats what i was trying to point out

RE: Funding trick
By Brian H on 7/19/2008 2:41:53 AM , Rating: 2
He swears to this day he meant, and said, "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." I believe him; in ordinary speed that "a" is often just represented by a tiny hesitation in the sound flow, and a change of tone which suggests the individual meaning of "man" rather than the collective. Try it.

And the other way makes no sense at all, and Armstrong was and is too smart to make nonsense statements in such a momentous moment. :)

The dragon in the living room here is that militarily, the Moon is high ground. If it were militarized, even with a boulder-pitching rail gun or two, any Earth-bound locations would be essentially defenseless. Trust [fill in the blank] not to do that?

RE: Funding trick
By glitchc on 8/11/2008 10:58:31 AM , Rating: 2
The dragon in the living room here is that militarily, the Moon is high ground. If it were militarized, even with a boulder-pitching rail gun or two, any Earth-bound locations would be essentially defenseless. Trust [fill in the blank] not to do that?

Amen to that! "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. Makes a good bedtime read.

So what?
By tim851 on 7/12/2008 10:40:44 AM , Rating: 3
What is a lead in the space race worth?

Getting a human on mars is like spending 4 trillion dollars for a trip to the Sahara desert. That's a lot of money for some jars with dust and a handful of rocks.

RE: So what?
By michal1980 on 7/12/2008 1:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
imho, goverment money spent on exploration and research is money that is better spent.

we wasted billions on the war on poverty and we still have 'poor' people.

Doing something never done before, is a much higher goal of mankind, then sitting around doing nothing

RE: So what?
By Noya on 7/12/2008 3:39:27 PM , Rating: 4
we wasted billions on the war on poverty and we still have 'poor' people.

Or how about the trillions (officers/courts/prisons) wasted on the "War on (deemed illegal) Drugs" while any high school kid can get a variety of street drugs easier than they can get alcohol?

Or how about the $3 trillion + it's going to cost for the "Iraq Occupation" when you take into account care for all the vets and so forth? What good came out of that?
Crude has quadrupled in price since the invasion.

spent on exploration

Doing something never done before, is a much higher goal of mankind, then sitting around doing nothing

Yeah, we need a revolutionary power source for that to happen. And if their was one, I doubt Joe Public would be privy to it...maybe 20+ years later.

Well at least we are consistent...
By SiliconAddict on 7/12/2008 2:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
Considering we are loosing in pretty much every are area other then being assholes.

By codeThug on 7/12/2008 9:35:53 PM , Rating: 5
The American psyche has always seemed to be geared towards being the underdog. That's where the can-do attitude came from. And we F*'n had it at one time. Had it in spades.

Now that the US has been on top for so long, people seem lost and disillusioned.

Maybe losing first place isn't so bad as long as it doesn't turn into a habit. Second place always has something to strive for, while first place has nowhere to go but down.

RE: Well at least we are consistent...
By JonnyDough on 7/13/08, Rating: 0
By JonnyDough on 7/18/2008 5:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
Know what's strange about forums? How many followers there are. I got down-rated automatically for using the A-hole word. Then I got down-rated again because I was at 1. Obviously, my retort was hilarious. I mean, obviously. It's me! But I've seen people fall in time and again. In some forums I've gone through and randomly rated people's comments to test my theory. It's amazing how people will follow suit, even when a horrible post is rated up or a good one rated down. Soooo many followers out there, and not enough objective and analytical thinkers. Just my thoughts on the matter. Drop the rating system it only half works anyway.

By DeepBlue1975 on 7/12/2008 3:17:03 PM , Rating: 1
I mean, come on, it's too early an stage on both available technological facilities and the universe is just too damn big to be fighting for space territory to settle in.

So, if there's nothing to win but knowledge and experience waiting out there to be found by those who dare... Why not make a cooperative effort between nations?

Simple: a common world founding for space exploration and research making it a joint effort would make the humanity as a whole advance faster in these matters, than each and every nation trying to do it by its own.

The benefits of space exploration, the things that can be learned are far too many to go the selfish route, and maybe as a plus could help some friction between nations to decrease.

The country that puts more money on the common funds has the highest rank when voting for decisions and that's it.

I seriously think that medical science and space exploration could advance so much faster with joint efforts, that I don't see the point on governments full of more than grown up adults engaging in childish competitions to show who has the bigger dick.

The pursuing of knowledge about our universe and its origins should be "open source", as no harm can be done from it and our intellectual resources could grow so much faster.

By Ringold on 7/12/2008 9:01:39 PM , Rating: 2
So, if there's nothing to win but knowledge and experience

There is vast commercial potential that could be tapped. Otherwise, you may have a point, if not for the fact that not everyone around the world is ready to pool sovereignty; that means there are defense implications as well.

The pursuing of knowledge about our universe and its origins should be "open source",

I don't believe anyone suggests keeping scientific data to themselves.

By DeepBlue1975 on 7/13/2008 6:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
I know about commercial issues, but if cooperation could make spaceships 3x faster in 1/10th of the time (just to say something) because joining economical resources and scientific investigation would allow faster and stronger results, I still think it'd be worth it.

I really thing the combined budget of all interested parties could boost research and results, and of course, the country putting more money, will have the highest level of control over everything done in such a project.

Just a thought, I don't think it could happen anytime soon (though maybe in a few hundred years or less it might be possible, who knows?) but I'd really like seeing something like that happen, just in the name of science and coming to a better knowledge of our universe.

By dklayn on 7/14/2008 2:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
So, if there's nothing to win but knowledge and experience waiting out there to be found by those who dare... Why not make a cooperative effort between nations?

Knowledge and experience are only one aspect of space exploration and are already areas with a large international cooperative effort.

The other aspect is space territory and resources. And, no, the universe is not "just too damn big" to make it worthless fighting over such. Unfortunately, the universe is so big that most territory is outside the range in which humans can usefully reach. The limited amount of near Earth territory (such as the Moon) is very important.

What the US should be focusing on is getting back to the Moon before any other nation and establishing a permanent lunar base/habitation. This would allow the US to claim sovereignty over the Moon rather than let it become an international terrority like Antarctica did under the Antarctic Treaty. There is simply too much commercial, military, and nationalistic benefits to establishing sovereignty over the Moon and all of its resources to let such an opportunity slip by.

Mars is the next true advance
By bupkus on 7/13/2008 4:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
We have just a few obstacles to pass:
1)physiological decline in long term zero gravitation space travel
2)resources such as water for a long term stay
3)enough energy source to sustain oxygen scrubbers
4)getting those people back to Earth
etc, etc.

Travel to Mars will not be a hop back to earth after a couple days as with the Moon. It's gonna be a long weekend. Some day I am certain it will happen. The food may be like that oatmeal stuff served in The Matrix but it will happen.

I'm wondering who will brew the first beer on Mars?

RE: Mars is the next true advance
By masher2 on 7/13/2008 11:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
The next true advance will be a permanent habitation on the Moon...a step that will be far more beneficial than a trip to Mars. The moon is our portal to the solar system; its shallow gravity well, abundant solar power, free vacuum and extremes of temperature, and nearness to earth make it far more commercially and industrially important.

RE: Mars is the next true advance
By mvpx02 on 7/14/2008 10:19:02 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention relatively abundant He3 which can be mined & used for power both on the moon & back on earth

There could be combined efforts..
By Clauzii on 7/12/2008 2:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
Instead of countries racing against each other (kids stuff actually!), they should combine their programs/money and make some dead serious missions/rocket in the name of planet earth.

By Ringold on 7/12/2008 8:12:31 PM , Rating: 3
Instead of countries racing against each other (kids stuff actually!), they should combine their programs/money

And then communist, democratic, and tyrannical leaders from around the world will get together in a big group hug, apologize for every mean word ever said and ever protest ever met with violent suppression, and we'll all live happily ever after. Mugabe will break down in tears, full of remorse for his decades of violent rule, and Ethiopian's will find out what Ethiopian food tastes like.

Okay. Back to the real world now.

Race? Where's the finish line?
By MykC on 7/13/2008 8:06:48 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, I didn't even know people were still racing.

RE: Race? Where's the finish line?
By rcc on 7/14/2008 11:29:19 AM , Rating: 2
lol, the game/race of life has no finish line. It's actually a relay race, you pass the baton before you can't continue anymore.

And, that's the attitude that gives us slums, pollution, and a host of other "nice" things

You are either green and growing, or ripe and rotting. And no, that is not an environmental reference.

Join the human race, and run for your life.

: )

In other news...
By ebakke on 7/12/2008 3:34:52 AM , Rating: 3
sources report the world is still turning.

not that we lose the lead
By geeg on 7/12/2008 4:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
No, no please do not get it wrong.. We are outsourcing the space missions, not that we are losing the lead.

By 91TTZ on 7/12/2008 4:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, what we're able to do in space isn't limited by technology, it's limited by funding. We were able to land a man on the moon several times using 1960's technology and a lot of funding. If we're going to lose any "lead" in space, it's going to be due to choice and not capability.

Secondly, this report seems like it's aimed at generating headlines to secure more funding and not to report anything that nobody knew. The US still has more space missions going on than anybody else, and the only thing holding us back from doing more is funding as I mentioned before.

China to the moon
By AlmostExAMD on 7/12/2008 10:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I wouldn't mind China beating everyone back to the moon, And when they get there I hope they choose the same landing place as the first moon landing.
Then they can shut up once and for all the conspiracy theorists out there, Or give them a cause for mass celebration. lol

By teckytech9 on 7/13/2008 2:17:56 AM , Rating: 2
What is needed is really cheap vehicles that can shuttle anyone to space and back. This will open the way for true space exploration. Governments tend to stake a claim where new territory is to be found.

A lack of speedy introductions of x-type vehicles by NASA has led to private companies taking the initiative. Try Virgin Galactic for starters.

By phxfreddy on 7/13/2008 12:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
we can only focus on space AFTER we fix the dollar collapse. Only after coastal drilling and ANWR are opened up and we are not pumping 800 billion out of the country can we get serious here.

Space Race?
By Polynikes on 7/13/2008 1:59:59 PM , Rating: 2
What space race? We're not competing with anyone anymore. Last time I checked, the space station was an international effort.

Space RACE?!!!
By JonnyDough on 7/13/2008 5:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
How is it a race if we share data, work collectively, etc...

I guess I'm a bit confused. I thought it was a global objective to explore space, not a U.S. one.

If NASA still considers it to be a "space race" then why have they been working collaboratively for the last few decades? Why share information with other nations? Surely China and Russia (remember Russia's economical fallout and China's new economy?) would not be where they are today if we did not share vital statistics and research with them. As such, one can hardly call this a "competition" or "race." This isn't about "who does it first." Scientists generally don't like politicians, do they? Sure, they get money from the buggers via grants, but they beg for every dollar. Those that find their own means of funding are held higher among their peers I believe. Referring to space scientists as "competitors" is degrading, regardless of where their funding comes from. But then, some do like to blow tax payer cash.

I'd just like a bit more understanding and elaboration, I feel as if I don't really know who's competitive with who here in this so called "race."

By jevans64 on 7/14/2008 3:06:10 AM , Rating: 2
... and that is why I'm NOT voting for Obama, who wants to cut or eliminate it.

NASA should be getting a $30-45 billion budget instead of the $16.1 billion it gets now.

I have some ideas on how to boost NASA's budget w/o increasing the Federal budget.

1) Eliminate AIDs aid to foreign countries -- $4 billion.

2) Eliminate foreign aid and incentives to countries who oppose our government -- $14 billion.

3) Eliminate or reduce economic assistance to those who are too lazy to go out and earn a living -- $10 billion.

4) Don't pass any bail-out legislation for lenders who were too much concerned with lining their pockets or homeowners who were too stupid to avoid ARMs.

There you go. A $40+ billion budget for NASA.

Why is it important?
By UppityMatt on 7/14/2008 11:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
if you really want to know why the entire NASA program and space technology is important i highly suggest you watch this 60 minute TV show or order it. I think you will understand how much NASA and the space program has had an impact on your everyday life.

Please say it isn't so.
By Spookster on 7/14/2008 12:28:39 PM , Rating: 2
You mean some other country might figure out that Mars can't be exploited and populated before we can? Oh no!!!!!

By Clauzii on 7/12/2008 3:29:00 PM , Rating: 1
Now that North-Korea, in a collaboration agreement with South-Korea, China, Russia, Japan and USA, will tear down their most important nuclear facility (to finish in october), and let the said countries inspect that it's been done properly, the USA, and the other collaborating countries, can pat themselves on the back and be proud of a peacefull solution!

The agreement also in much detail describes insight to North-Koreas knowledge into nuclears in general.

So that's one country less to be afraid of. And one less reason to build that stupid missile defence system in the eastern part of Europe. There are other means than weapons, this recent development clearly shows.

By dare2savefreedom on 7/12/08, Rating: 0
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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