Elaine Meinel Supkis
NASA is lost in space. The Mars mission maniacs still believe they will jet for the stars but realistic people can see the writing on the walls: we are going bankrupt and because of spending a trillion dollars trying to secure the oil in Iraq, we have no more money for space cadets. Everything is falling apart.
At a time when climate change impacts are accelerating, our ability to observe those impacts from space is deteriorating.
Cuts in US government funding for Nasa programmes will dramatically weaken scientists' capacity to monitor and understand the planet's climate; at least, so says a major study from the National Research Council (NRC), published earlier this year.
If present trends continue, they conclude, by 2015 the number of US Earth-observing satellite missions will be reduced by half, putting the scientific systems they support "at risk of collapse".
This ticks me off. Mars is a geologically crippled planet with barely anything happening due to it losing most of its water and atmosphere over the eons. No more volcanoes erupt. There is a spring and winter still but it can't even cook up a small rainstorm, just sand storms and dust devils. I bet it doesn't even have earthquakes.
But this planet is the most special one in the universe, it is extremely dynamic on every level all the way to the active core. It is tremendously complex and we still know so very little. Looking at the earth from above means being able to see the larger picture and this is very important for us creatures living here on the uncertain and ever-changing surface. Just like watching that interesting old star, the sun, is life and death.
But because Bush and his doomsday cult creeps hate this earth and view it as a place to rape and pillage for their own lusts, they are uninterested in looking at it from afar and protecting it from the many dangers that lurk out there in space. Bush doesn't care about Mars, either. He needed those fools in the the Space Exploration community to help him take power and in return, they get to play children's games, pretending they are Darth Vader.
The real beneficiaries of government largess has been the doomsday cultists building various missile weapons systems that will enable us to launch WWIII. These people are also building huge bomb shelters in hidden places at taxpayer expense. They believe the way to protect this planet is to blow up as many humans as possible so the Master Race survives and runs the joint using superior technology.
These people infest all levels of the government. They are extremely dangerous. Note how this spring, they have been busy ramming their missiles down Europe's throats, egging on the Russians and daring them to meet us, missile to missle.
A stupid mistake since China is Russia's closest ally and Germany has been placating Russia since 1982. Both don't want WWIII. Not that the doomsdayers care.
Congressional investigators questioned NASA's top attorney behind closed doors Friday about his role in destroying copies of a recorded meeting between the NASA administrator and the agency's watchdog office.
Michael Wholley approved the action, NASA acknowledged Friday. The recordings were of an April 10 meeting called to discuss an integrity report. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin did not want the gathering recorded because he wanted employees to feel free to talk, agency spokesman David Mould said.
The Democrats have been investigating all sorts of things and this matter has gotten press coverage but it is the tip of the iceberg. Bush has put into positions of responsiblity, an army of 'Brownies' whose sole function is to gum up the works and hinder scientists studying this planet. They don't want the condition of this planet to make the news and motivate people to stop the rapine and destruction of it. Also, they want people to hate this planet and not care if it is blown up and made toxic via nuclear bombs.
Three key members of Congress called for the removal Monday of NASA's inspector general, saying he abused his authority, was too chummy with NASA leaders and created a "hostile" workplace in the auditing office.
The call for the dismissal of NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb came after the lawmakers received a report on Cobb's conduct from the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, which has been investigating complaints about Cobb dating back to 2005.
The entire government is filled with such people as Cobb. He was there to work with Griffin to destroy the life sciences and the teams of scientists working on earth projects. He also was there to keep the money flowing to the corporations that make stuff for NASA and which are all Bush Pioneers, paying him bribes to keep the money flowing.
And they make little money off of science satellites, their milch kuh is the Space Shuttle. This white elephant herd of clumsy space vehicles is growing smaller and smaller via blowing up and killing everyone. There are no more shuttles being built and the ones being used are very old with ancient computers from the Atari era and the dream of many launches every year dwindled from day one to hair-raising rarity.
Take a look at the Shuttle stack and what do you see? A fragile spaceplane sitting on the back of a huge propellant tank between two massive solid rocket boosters. The tank holds liquid oxygen and hydrogen and towers above the spaceplane. It is the foam off this tank that hit Columbia and knocked a hole in her wing. But why is there foam at all? Because without it, ice would form on the super-cooled tank and hit the spaceplane. But why would ice or foam hit it in the first place? Because of where the spaceplane sits. But why does it sit there? Because the Shuttle Main Engines (SME's) need to come back to Earth and therefore must be attached to the spaceplane to be returned. And why do the SME's need to be returned? So that they can be reused. And why do they have to be reused? Because, theoretically, it's cheaper to refurbish them than build new ones. Therefore, the spaceplane we think of as the Shuttle has to sit right in the middle of all the turmoil of launch because we once believed it would be cheaper to bring back those engines and rebuild them than to build new ones. That has not proved to be the case-far from it-but it has left us with a crew sitting in the most vulnerable position possible in terms of engineering design and safety. Simply put, had that spaceplane been on top of the stack, the destruction of Columbia would not have occurred because its wings would have been out of the line of fire. Challenger would probably not have happened, either. Had the spaceplane been above the explosion, it likely would have been able to punch out and glide back home.
Despite the latest disaster, NASA kept on launching the shuttle but reduced it to only once a month or less. But even this has proven to be impossible and it has now been many months since the last one was supposed to go. Meanwhile, the staff working on or for the Space Shuttle is falling apart and ending up in the news. Kidnapping, suicide-murders and simple depression plagues NASA. Instead of feeling like they are forging ahead into the future, they are flying backwards into the past.
This sense of losing ground has demoralized the staff and in the Jet Propulsion Lab and science community, the astronomers and biologists and geologists using the stream of intensely interesting data pouring in---they are all filled with fury and frustration because they can see their 'eyes' in space shutting down as old satellites degrade. They need to keep these programs going and extend them.
NASA longed to abandon the familiar one-shot rocket-whose stages, once fired, went tumbling into the sea or burned up, taking their titanium castings and navigational computers with them. The Saturn V moon rocket, for example, weighed 3,050 tons at blast-off, and you got exactly seven tons back--that dinky little "command module" the men rode in. "We wanted to have only miniscule involvement with the rocket concept in the future," Day says.
At first NASA asked for an all-reusable shuttle. Grumman and McDonnell-Douglas came up with a plan that called for two huge winged ships, each with its own pilots and engines, mated piggyback. They would blast off together, with the larger ship-the booster-spitting fire for the first 10 to 20 miles of altitude. Then, fuel spent, it would circle back to land like an airplane. The smaller ship would continue into orbit, drop its cargo, reenter the atmosphere, and also land like a plane: NASA believed this system would be economical to operate, but would cost $10 billion to build. The Office of Management and Budget balked. Ten billion, it gasped--out of the question!
What could you do, OMB asked, for $5 billion? Design of the horse was referred to committee, where a compromise was found. A partially reusable shuttle was conceived.
I remember the negotiations over the Space Shuttle. It so happened, this was also when we were in trouble with paying for both the Vietnam war and the USA hit the Hubbert Oil Peak, the first nation to do so. Inflation was beginning to rage as world oil prices shot up due to wars in the Middle East. Inflation at home began to rage. The USA has to try to sell the idea of space exploration to a worried Congress that felt back then, they had to balance the budget.
Since then, balancing the budget has become old hat and only one year since, under Clinton, has it been anywhere near balanced, often it runs deep in the red and since Bush took over, very deep in the red as it ignores reality. NASA thought it could ignore reality just like the Pentagon but they now realize they are Bush's enemies and he wants to destroy the scientists who are the backbone of NASA and the most important component.
Any new space system that reduced costs would be, to the contractors, killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Just a few weeks ago, NASA canceled a program called the Space Launch Initiative, whose goal was to design a much cheaper and more reliable replacement for the shuttle. Along with the cancellation, NASA announced that the shuttle fleet would remain in operation until 2020, meaning that Columbia was supposed to continue flying into outer space even when its airframe was more than 40 years old! True, B-52s have flown as long. But they don't endure three times the force of gravity on takeoff and 2000*none on re-entry.
The space station is a failed experiment. We really don't know what to do with it. I would say, it was conceived of too small and too petty. Either go for it all the way or don't do it at all, in this case. Building space colonies means cutting the Pentagon's budget by 2/3rds and committing vast resources. But this is not politically possible. So the entire idea should have been canned.
I want a host of probes sent throughout this solar system as well as probes seeking a way of looking at our solar system from above the galactic plane. This concept is nearly impossible for our present abilities but it must be done because we have to 'see' what the heck is going on up there. As well as sending probes to that dark area just outside of the sun's windstream: that place where those comets and meteorites come out of with so little warning.
With only three years remaining before the space-shuttle fleet's planned retirement, NASA managers have begun tackling the thorny issues that will dictate the program's end.
Critical facilities must be overhauled to support planned human missions to the moon. Billions of dollars' worth of obsolete shuttle hardware must be disposed of.
And, most difficult of all, thousands of jobs must be shifted or eliminated as the shuttle era ends and the new Constellation project takes off.
Shutting down the Shuttle program irritates many Congress critters as well as being a sore point for anyone running for office. It is a big money maker soaking up tax dollars and like the many Pentagon programs, was scattered about the nation so all of Congress would want to keep it going. Of course, the fact that there are barely any shuttles left and they are viewed increasingly as a terrifying prospect when they are launched, this is demoralizing not just NASA but the entire USA which cringes when launches occur.
And I remember a similar period back in the 1950's: Russia's rockets were beating our own and this upset everyone for we were losing the space race. But the Soviet state got bogged down in trying to keep Eastern Europe, parts of Russia itself and Afghanistan under the Soviet boot heels and this cost a lot of money and created massive bad will that grew greater by the day and financing this tyranny was making it harder and harder for Russia to have any sort of space program.
And here we are, imitating them! Closing our borders to professors and intellectuals, hindering and harrassing scientists and creative people, spending a fortune trying to keep a grip on our vast empire, running deep in the red, debasing our currency, destroying our entire industrial base. And we want to conquer space?
We can't even walk in daylight in many of our inner cities! We are fearful of ourselves as mass murderers run riot even in the halls of NASA! Spying on each other and the entire planet uses up precious satellites and resources rather than looking outwards at the rest of creation!
We are as doomed as the Soviets.