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NASA will rely on contractors to help pick up additional tasks as the U.S. space agency deals with money issues

Facing growing financial issues that may eliminate future missions to the moon and Mars, NASA may be prepared to let private contractors have a larger role in its future space endeavors.

President Barack Obama hasn't made any official decisions regarding the future of NASA, but several unnamed government officials and other space experts claim the private sector will be responsible for a larger amount of NASA-backed missions.

Currently, each shuttle launch is government-led, including the use of the current space shuttle fleet, but cost restraints may end up crippling anticipated missions.  During the previous administration, former President George W. Bush outlined a plan for NASA to return to the moon, but Obama's blueprint involves $30 billion to $50 billion less than what was expected over the next decade.

Outsourcing work to the private sector would allow the federal government to save the $30 billion to $50 billion, with contractors expected to help develop rocket-propulsion technology and plan manned launches to Mars.

As space nations outline plans to return to the moon by 2025, NASA is unlikely to launch a manned mission to the moon by 2020, as necessary funding will simply be unavailable.  The U.S. space agency is currently unable to finance any manned launches anywhere past the International Space Station (ISS) at the moment, according to former astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, who said NASA "just can't get there," regarding the moon.

Once the current space shuttle fleet is retired -- which is expected to take place in 2010 -- private contractors will help NASA get back to the ISS, along with the Russian space agency.

If NASA continued with its current budget, a return back to the moon wouldn't be possible until 2028, if not later.

Obama recently put together the Human Space Flight Committee of space experts and politicians to study how feasible it would be to launch towards the moon or Mars, but "at the end of the day, the President will make the decision, not a committee."

Until a final decision is made, the future of the U.S. space agency remains extremely confusing for the public, politicians, and contractors who may be called upon to help NASA with future space missions.

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RE: Great!!
By StevoLincolnite on 8/24/2009 3:54:54 AM , Rating: 2
Not really. Not with current and near-future technology anyways. While it might be possible to get some people up there, keeping them alive long-term and/or getting them to somewhere that would allow them to stay alive long-term is pretty much out of the question. Launching enough food/water to support even a modest population for more than a few months is not practical, and nowhere that we could ship them to in that amount of time is really habitable, barring significant advances in either terraforming or life-support technologies.

And this is the catch, if we don't send missions up into space for scientific reasons, how do we expect to make in-roads into doing such a thing? All advances in technology was made from research and exploration, without those two we will be stagnant.

That's how we ended up with Velcro and Microwaves in the first place.

Personally I think it's worth the cost to explore outer-space, which -is- the Final frontier.

The cost would be greatly reduced however if we un-cover a StarGate in Egypt, Meet some powerful allies like the Tokra/Nox/Asgaurd/Tollan and we will be all set to create a fleet of Battleships. :)

RE: Great!!
By menace on 8/24/2009 2:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that velcro was well worth the $10 billion

Microwave ovens had nothing to do with the space program. It was discovered quite by accident during radar testing (someone left a sandwich next to an antenna or something like that). This was way before the space program even got off the ground.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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