- The Chicago Astronomer -
Copyright 2004-2014 All rights reserved by Joseph Guzman Administrator/Founder/Chief Astronomer.
All text and images are the property of the original authors/artists and shall
not be used without permission.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 9, 2005 22:31:40 GMT -6
AAU / University Community Priorities for Reauthorization of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Top Priority: Restore Science 'Firewall'
For many years, Congress and the Administration protected the science portfolio and missions of NASA from inevitable cost overruns in large human programs, such as the International Space Station and the Shuttle program, through a budgetary firewall. This separation within the budget ensured that NASA's science portfolio was not raided by programs related to the human exploration mission of NASA. This ensured that NASA held onto both its human space exploration mission as well as its science mission. Last year, this protection was dropped and it has resulted and will continue to result in numerous programs being cut or slated for cancellation in the science program due to large budgetary pressures from the Space Station, the Shuttle program, and other large proposed missions.
This virtual firewall should be restored in order to achieve NASA's science mission and the nation's need for space-based observations.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 15, 2005 22:29:07 GMT -6
House GOP Defends DeLay, Rejects NASA Cut
WASHINGTON - House Republicans beat back a Democratic challenge Tuesday to Majority Leader Tom DeLay, defeating an effort to cut $200 million from NASA's Moon-Mars initiative and spend the money instead to aid local police.
By a 230-196 vote, the House rejected an amendment by Rep. David Obey D-Wis., to transfer $200 million from the space agency to two Clinton-era grant programs that President Bush wants to phase out.
Thanks for the reminder that the firewall was dropped, Joe, but it was a sham. It was well intended, but unrealistic. It was originally requested by scientists and engineers who understood how space can best be explored and were fearful that the "Buck Rogers" mentality of those whose thinking was still entrenched in the first half of the 20th century would result in all of NASA's budget going to "make work" manned programs instead of practical scientific research with robotic vehicles. The budgetary pretense was similar to the situation in Illinois several decades ago when the public was sold on the idea of a state lottery with the proceeds "earmarked" for public education. In reality, general funds that would have gone to schools was directed elsewhere.
It's the same with Congressmen who were still free to vote to reduce NASA's science budget, if they felt the manned space program was taking too much from other Federal programs. The total Federal budget is not a bottomless pit, at least not if lawmakers have an ounce of integrity. Priorities need to be determined, and there will always be those who feel their pet projects should override the concerns of others. Manned space projects are horrendously expensive. This is not the era for them. The 1960's were - we had no robotics back them. Although we did feel the need to beat the "Commies". Centuries hence, there may again be a necessity for men in space and the technology may be available to make it safe, cheap and feasible. Meanwhile, let's contain our zeal.
Last Edit: Jun 19, 2005 22:52:47 GMT -6 by Centaur