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View Diary: Lunar Astronaut Buzz Aldrin - To Pres. Obama. (58 comments)

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  •  I'm 25 - I just learned computers early. (2+ / 0-)
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    C Barr, Vladislaw

    Anyway, there's policy, and then there's actual implementation.  Just because a piece of paper somewhere says "It is our intention to..." does not mean the institution is logistically organized or psychologically equipped to accomplish that.  Other than JPL and a few other bright lights, NASA is necrotic - it has finally been run into the ground by the political compromises that were necessary at its inception.  

    We need an organization that, from its very foundations, is focused on the long-term survival and expansion of the human species, and guided by "pragmatic fanatics" who are not wedded to means (as Griffin unfortunately proved to be) but will not compromise on ends.  

    NASA's relationship with such a vision was tangential at best, and now it has no connection whatsoever - most of its science programs, while awesome and worthy, do not facilitate manned space, and even its manned space programs have no organic growth process, tied entirely to the demands of pork and the political winds.  We need a system that is living, breathing, and growing with time, taking more and more people with it further and further.

    As he tends to do, President Obama gives me great hope in this matter.  Not because of anything he has specifically said, but because I see what kind of leader he is.  He has far more immediate priorities, but when he turns his gaze to the sky - and he will eventually, because he wants to do everything - I see little chance he would pass up the opportunity to carve his name in eternity if he sees a realistic possibility.  It is our job to convince him that it is realistic, and show how the benefits cascade throughout the economy and society to a higher degree than any other investment.

    Yearn for the horizon.

    by Troubadour on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 04:54:10 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with elements of what you are saying. (1+ / 0-)
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      C Barr

      I think it was Bill White who had commented before of inertia of the bureaucracy and once something is in place you have to use dynamite to change directions. It is just easier to go along with whatever is there then to reverse or change course. I think that is what we see in NASA today.

      Could you sell this to the american public as a cabinet position:

      "We need an organization that, from its very foundations, is focused on the long-term survival and expansion of the human species"

      It is foreward thinking and that is what we need. I would like to believe we could count on the general public to see the importance.

      Once there is a commercial habitat and one launch company independant of NASA, I think it is going to happen in spite of the government.

      •  Wouldn't sell it directly like that. (1+ / 0-)
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        Vladislaw

        Even intelligent people mostly don't understand in their bones that they live in an infinite cosmos.  They see things linearly rather than systemically, and see space as a curiosity or digression from the point rather than the context in which human life operates.  I would take an agnostic approach to salesmanship - say whatever gets them on board, and they'll understand once they're out there and the future starts rushing toward us.

        Once there is a commercial habitat and one launch company independant of NASA, I think it is going to happen in spite of the government.

        I doubt it.  If there is only or two, they'll become lazy and institutionalized, losing their will to innovate or reduce costs, and the up-front investment to go after their market share will still be way out of startup range.

        Yearn for the horizon.

        by Troubadour on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 06:32:41 PM PST

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        •  if there is only one or two (0+ / 0-)

          and they are generating extra normal profits, that is the key. Capital automatically flows there. If they get fat and lazy competition will over take them. In this case it would be the chinese or India. If an american firm can do it and make extra normal profits, they would have even a greater ROI because of the labor rates. I believe they are looking at moving their space program into the commercial sector faster then we did.

          •  This is all taking way too long. (1+ / 0-)
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            Vladislaw

            DOS could fulfill an important function by accelerating progress through raw cash.  Just keep the market continually flooded with development money so anyone with a serious plan can take a serious shot, and all sorts of wondrous things will happen.  Then we don't have to wait a decade for current firms to reach maturity, then another decade for India and China to respond, then another decade for that to feedback and improve the system, etc.

            Yearn for the horizon.

            by Troubadour on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 07:19:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  now that is what I used to say when I first (0+ / 0-)

              started commenting on space blogs. I was always shouted down as being a dreamer and not realistic.

              Personally, I see no reason, other then political will and leadership, America csn't pump 150 billion a year into creating a vibrant commercial space economy. But as I was told over and over, it just isn't going to happen. If the Bush Administration would have spent a trillion of that 5 trillion of debt we would have a new sector now.

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