Saturday, January 12, 2013

Death Star remains fiction: What about NASA?

The White House has responded to a petition by declaring it will not put a Death Star into the budget anytime soon.  Paul Shawcross wrote that the government is not into blowing up planets and can't find room for the $850,000,000,000,000,000 necessary.  Shawcross went on to point out there are some really interesting space hardware items already out there, including the ISS and the Mars rovers. "Even though the United States doesn't have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we've got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we're building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe."
Shawcross doesn't mention a lot of htings, though. Like the U.S. being dependent on Russia for human access to space for the next few years. Like the Administration's goal of eventually (long after it has left office) landing on an asteroid being rejected by nearly everyone in the space and science communities as a bizarre detour from an intelligent program to explore the Moon and Mars.  Like the savage budget cutting of the planetary sciences program: the spacecraft now up there or now under contruction are essentially all there is.  The Administration and Congress have determined that NASA's one half of one percent of hte Federal budget is some kind of indulgence rather than a future-oriented driver of technical and scientific progress with very real economic benefits.  Darth Vader would find this lack of faith disturbing. 

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