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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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By Ringold on 3/19/2007 1:33:56 PM , Rating: 2
A few things economic study tells us:
1) Giving pay cuts to politicians increases their proclivity to accept and seek bribes to maintain their lifestyle. Paying them too much lowers this urge. Bribery destroys public confidence in the entire system, whereas too high of pay just makes politicians look like pigs but people still are content enough to follow government rules.. therefore, best to pay them more than they're really worth then have them legislate to the highest bidder all the time.

2) Wages are a rounding error on the federal budget, almost. Social security, welfare programs, medicare, etc, are the bulk of it, casting a shadow over any other budget item. One could double NASA's budget and not impact the overall budget. If cuts need to be made, they'd be best targeted at our massive hand-outs, NOT in discouraging professional, intelligent individuals from seeking public service due to lousy pay.


"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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