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I hope it’s obvious that I’m as in-favor of NASA as a person can be. But Newt’s Moon-base talk was nothing but pandering to to the few space coast manufacturers, engineers, and Cape Kennedy motel managers in Florida who continue to vote Republican despite the avalanche of evidence showing that the GOP hates science and every part of government that doesn’t report to the Pentagon.
No one should get to advocate for moon-bases AND increasing the suffering of the working and middle classes. Space exploration should be a luxury for nations only after they have taken care of their poor. So what I’m saying is leave space to the Scandinavians.
Until we get our shit together, us space-nerds will have to make do with watching Orion splashdown in a giant bathtub and living vicariously through all the cool probe/robot shit that’s happening in the solar system, right now!
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Atlantis is up in low-Earth-orbit right now, doing the last laps of America’s manned space program.
Discovery completed its final mission yesterday. It’s going to a museum or Jay Leno’s unfunny garage of old-timey vehicles, but serving astronaut ice cream on the streets of America would be a much more noble end.
Manned spaceflight is expensive and will probably never be as practical as sending robots to look at space-rocks, but putting people in space is fucking awesome, and a much better way for countries to wag their dicks around than waging wars. At least until Robonaut becomes sentient and rules us all from his throne on the ISS.
NASA being underfunded is a damn shame. The public is too dumb to find any value in the stuff they do, so their budgets get cut while the Pentagon gets to spend trillions on bombing people and boring-ass places on Earth. Near Earth Orbit will have to be turned into a NASCAR track before enough people give a shit.
And yeah, there are other worthy things the money being pissed away by the Defense Department can be spent on, but none of them produce spectacular wallpapers for my desktop.
UPDATE: Morning Edition on NPR covers NASA’s financial pickle.
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Here’s a late update from the Lehigh Valley.
Next Week: Recession Recipes