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Not only can the Chinese space program make it to the moon, it will get there before the U.S., according to NASA

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told a House Committee on Science and Technology that the Chinese are likely to be the next nation to reach the moon, even before the United States.  "If they wanted to mount a lunar mission, they could do so," Griffin said.  The Chinese space program also has around 200,000 employees, while NASA has a workforce numbering close to 75,000.

Assuming NASA continues to receive the amount of funding it is currently getting, the space agency will be able to send astronauts back to the moon in 2019 -- an additional "few billion extra" will allow NASA to reach the moon in 2017.  The Chinese government continues to funnel large amounts of money towards the nation's space endeavors.  

Serious budget cuts and issues with the current NASA lunar program were the main reasons cited by NASA.  Bart Gordon, chairman of the U.S. House science committee, recently said that NASA is headed for a "train wreck" if the space organization cannot get the funding that it needs.  
With the pending retirement of the space shuttle in 2010, NASA also needs to finish the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) on time after the shuttle is retired.  "If the CEV is delayed even further, then we will cede leadership in human space flight at a time when Russia and China have such capabilities and India has announced its intention to develop them," Griffin said.


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RE: It's all about safety
By masher2 (blog) on 3/18/2007 1:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
> "if the money that has been spent on Iraq went to education, the sciences (including the space program), social welfare, and a few other things, we could be well on our way to exploring Mars...."

I'm not sure how you feel that spending more money on "social welfare" is going to get us to Mars, but I have to point out that, since the Iraq war began, the federal government has spent over 12 trillion dollars (that's $12,000 billion), the majority of it on income-redistribution and entitlement programs.


RE: It's all about safety
By oTAL on 3/19/2007 1:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
Well... most of the arguments I'll make are debatable, but you asked for it...

A well implemented social welfare program could reduce poverty, social reclusion, crime, drug use, disease, etc.
Less crime usually leads to less organized crime which leads to less corruption... that in turn leads to a more productive society with resources to spare on long term scientific investments.

In a more direct way, a simple scholarship program could keep some kids in school, once again reducing crime and, possibly, giving better opportunities for a new generation of engineers.
You'd probably argue that the really special brains don't need that much incentive and that they usually come from sturdy families with good economic backgrounds. Still, some geniuses had few opportunities... and still managed to prove themselves... that must mean we probably lost some along the way, especially amongst women and blacks because of social barriers. Some highly intuitive people, like Srinivasa_Ramanujan need to be found so that their talents may be enjoyed by the world. Other than that, in today's world of big science you need a lot of average scientists to do work, not just geniuses! I know some people who gave up the university halfway because of economic problems... and that's in socialist Europe....

Well... I kinda overextended myself already, but I guess that "giving people the opportunity to study as far as they want", although a little beaten, is a good argument towards producing more engineers capable of helping put a space capsule on Mars...


RE: It's all about safety
By Ringold on 3/19/2007 2:03:44 PM , Rating: 1
I've seen people come from families that were economic disasters, your typical variety of inner-city slum trash, work full time during high school, pocketing cash all along the way, receiving "good enough" grades the whole way, then working through college, still banking all the way, and then lo and behold, without taking a bloody dime from any other person in the form of mandated government hand-outs, they've finished college and are prosperous, self-starting members of society. Not all of them are even that smart, oddly enough. I got sucked in to an inner city high school under the banner of the desegregation 'magnet' programs, though, so I've got plenty of examples of those types.

Anyway, that aside, scholarships just drive up the cost for the rest of us hard-working folk who had too much income to qualify for any need-based aid for college. You won't find hardly any expert that'll deny that the Democrat's cutting interest rates on student loans again will ultimately raise prices -- its a classic problem of too much money chasing a fixed number of goods.

To go on to debunk social welfare in general.. My god, reduce poverty, social reclusion (?!!!!!!), crime, drug use, and disease?! Good god man, good parenting and rule of law fixed crime and drug use, it's none of the governments damned business to manipulate my or anyone elses behavior to be more or less reclusive or whatever else is deemed by the mob to be a more desirable social trait, poverty is partly a function of the economy and partly a function of personal choice which means its part a personal responsibility (which is no business of the government) and part the economy (which government has a role in to fix true large market failures and then stay away otherwise). Disease barely applies; if you're thinking STDs, again, half the solution is personal responsibility, and half is pure economics -- if there's money in a cure, then it'll be done much better, faster, and cheaper than sending an army of unmotivated government scientists at the problem with billion dollar budgets.

I recently found another Frenchman I actually respect; Nicholas Sarkozy. Said something along the lines of the chief consequene of not allowing societies most dynamic individuals to become rich is that everybody is poor (a slam against wealth redistribution, which is what social welfare programs are all about). Europe is a case study in the failure of socialism, with its low growth, high unemployment, and weak governments, which stand in stark contrast to higher-growth more capitalist nations, such as America, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, etc, etc.

I don't know how many times I'll have to illustrate the facts of how history has treated socialism and proven that nations that place more responsibility on the person than the government have prospered in recent decades in contrast to socialisms stagnation, but I'll keep doing it regardless.

Oh, and that behavioral engineer talk is downright scary. FFS, that's the worst possible thing any government could do -- thats a shadowy form dictatorship and oppression, government making you take what they want you to take and smile while doing so. It's scary that you've bought in to it hook, line and sinker. If you don't exercise that intellectual demon from yourself, you're going to be little more than a government pawn.


RE: It's all about safety
By mindless1 on 3/20/2007 12:24:30 AM , Rating: 2
For each "example" of someone who managed to make it from nothing to graduated and self-supporting in an applicable field, there are thousands of those who don't, who made the right choices and worked as hard. There is a finite combination of opportunities enough to allow a few, but not anyone who would like to, to succeed in this situation. The rest may even get through school then find there is already a job shortage because so many jobs are being outsourced offshore. The % of those graduated from college is higher than past years but the average debt is up and study of sciences declining. On an absolte scale the population has to have a similar number of people making "good" choices, but the results are not there, more needs done.


RE: It's all about safety
By typo101 on 3/20/2007 6:31:37 PM , Rating: 2
most college graduates that I know who are in debt are so because they are pure bred consumers with a credit card. (actually, that applies to almost everybody i know who is in debt)


RE: It's all about safety
By Ringold on 3/20/07, Rating: 0
RE: It's all about safety
By oTAL on 3/20/2007 11:31:47 AM , Rating: 2
As I said those were debatable points and I do not believe them all like I presented them. I think the solution is somewhere in between, but I'd like to add that I'd prefer 1000x to be born in socialist Europe than to be given life in the casino economy of the USA. Your winner-takes-it-all economy leads to many social injustices and although every point you made were correct for adult people you need to understand that 99.9% of children lack the maturity to do the hard choices you think are necessary in the moment they are most necessary - growing up! I'm a very successful, disciplined person with a few achievements in my quarter century life, but I had it pretty easy and I'm really not sure if I would've gone this far without a few pushes along the way. Life can be pretty shitty sometimes and I know a few bad cases of that... a BRILLIANT friend of mine (she was the best student in an entire school and she hardly lay a finger on books) has gone to the point of trying suicide, and a part of that was indirect consequence of economic troubles caused by a sour parents divorce and a father who should have a space shuttle shoved up his ass.
Shit happens and when there's noone there to catch you should be able to trust society to give you a chance to succeed....
That's what I think happens in Europe. Everyone is given a chance. In the US, if you're born in the hood, poor, with drugs, violence, and unmotivated teachers in your school, a few friends in jail and every statistics saying you'll probably join them eventually... well... that makes it easier for a smart person to do stupid stuff.
Not everyone is an alpha! Some people need to be lead, and if you can't lead them in a right path then someone will surely guide them through the wrong one.


RE: It's all about safety
By Ringold on 3/20/2007 10:07:35 PM , Rating: 1
Oh, stop whining. I hear excuses that amount to "My mommy didn't breast feed me, I need a lifetime of welfare because I'm unmotivated and have turned to pot and booze" all the time. As said above, it's an issue of motivation and personal responsibility. Anybody that wants to succeed enough WILL succeed. Life in the USA is not a "casino economy"; our unemployment is much lower than in Europe, for example, but people here get out of life what they want -- unless they're lazy, in which case, we do indeed have social safety nets. They suck just enough, though, that I plan on working in life -- if I lived in socialist Europe, my game plan would be to get a job, become unemployed, and milk the benefits for as much as I could before rinsing and repeating. Why work when people like you are paying taxes and are willing to buy my sap story about "stress" and pay me to do "job training" or some such thing?

I don't think you even live in the US, or have ever been here. Everyone is given a chance here. Read the above -- I've seen many people "born in the hood" end up making more money than I do. The only people here that don't believe that are the ones full of excuses -- or making their livings from those making excuses, such as the disciples of Martin Luther King who aren't 1/5th the man.

And yes, not everyone is an alpha. Some people need to be lead. On their knees. Smiling, as the government tells them what they can't eat, drive, products to buy, services to consume, websites to visit, books to read or music listen to.

All of which, for America, would represent quite a meteoric fall from "live free or die."

And Europe is partly realizing the error of their ways as well. Sarkozy, for example; "And the main consequence of preventing the most dynamic members of society from getting rich is to make everyone else poor". A generalization, but the last 60 years bear absolute evidence of that. Of course, Sarkozy won't get elected, because people hate to be told that they're the problem. It's a start, though.


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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