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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
quote:
...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
quote:
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 :)

http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/About/History9...


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
Wow...that's just...wow.

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
quote:
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
quote:
*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.

http://www.panoramas.dk/moon/mission-apollo.html


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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Laser_Ranging_E...
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/21jul_llr....
http://physics.ucsd.edu/~tmurphy/apollo/lrrr.html
http://physics.ucsd.edu/~tmurphy/apollo/apollo.htm...


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
quote:
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). "

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/About_ESA/SEMW16ARR1F_...

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?

Baffling!


By Regs on 7/12/2008 6:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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
quote:
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
quote:
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
quote:
At every turn we had the Democrats crying that the poor, seniors and other Entitlement programs reciepents, were more important than spaceflight.

Ummm...it 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
ours.
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 (blog) on 7/13/2008 11:05:27 PM , Rating: 3
> "Ummm...it 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.


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