Editorial: Going Boldly, or Barely Going?

Yesterday TrekMovie presented an editorial by former Star Trek science advisor Andre Bormanis, supporting the new proposed change in NASA’s human spaceflight policy that including cancelling the Constellation program. Today we present an different point of view from veteran Trek designers (and active space advocates) Mike and Denise Okuda.


Support Project Constellation

by Michael & Denise Okuda

Dear Friends:

As long-time supporters of real-life space exploration, Denise and I were disappointed to learn that the proposed NASA budget for 2011 would cancel Project Constellation and the planned return to the Moon. Constellation, as you may know, began in 2004, after the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew. NASA was determined to make spaceflight safer for its astronauts, and it knew that it had to give those astronauts a worthwhile mission: exploration.

Constellation is tasked with developing boosters, spacecraft, and other systems to provide a safer replacement for the Space Shuttle, one that would enable a return to the Moon for the specific purpose of developing the ability for humans to live on another world. Unlike Apollo, Constellation is designed to run on a comparatively constrained budget. Constellation’s Ares boosters are based on Space Shuttle technology, reducing their development costs and improving safety and reliability.

Since 2004, NASA has made a lot of progress with Constellation. New rocket engines have been designed and tested. A new launch pad has been built at the Kennedy Space Center, and a massive new launch tower has just been completed. Prototype Orion capsules are being tested, even as prototype moon rovers are trekking through the desert. Design work on Altair lunar landers and next-generation space suits is well underway. And last October, NASA conducted the successful first launch of Project Constellation, the Ares I-X Development Test Flight. We’re finally on our way back to the Moon, and heading out to Mars.

Artist rendition of Altair lander on the moon

Now, the administration has proposed to cancel Constellation in favor of a “flexible path” of technology development and the use of commercial launch services for astronauts to get into orbit. While technology development is a very good idea, it’s not a substitute for an actual mission with a real goal. Without a goal and a specific plan, we believe that NASA, however well-intentioned, will simply end up spending a lot of money without actually going anywhere. It’s happened before. We don’t want it to happen again. And while we believe that commercial spaceflight will be a reality in the relatively near future, the fact is that no such capability exists yet. Spaceflight is a difficult, dangerous enterprise, and it would be foolish to gamble the future of our nation’s space program by abandoning systems that are already well into development. With so much progress already made, we believe that canceling Constellation would be a serious mistake.

The good news is that the proposed budget is just that: A proposal. Over the next few weeks the Congress will review the proposal and will make whatever changes it deems necessary. Constellation can be saved if members of Congress – and the President – see that their constituents want it. That’s why we’re asking you to support Constellation by writing to the President and to their elected representatives.

Here’s a website that we’ve put together with more information on Constellation, plus resources on how to reach your elected officials.


Space exploration is vital source of technology and innovation for our society. The space program is one of the most effective means to stimulate economic growth, both in the short term and the long run. And exploration inspires our young people, even as it helps us comprehend the wonders of the final frontier, now and in the future. Please join us in making that future a reality by writing letters and by spreading the word to your friends.


-Mike and Denise Okuda

February 7, 2010 



Besides having worked in the Star Trek art departments, Mike and Denise Okuda are long-time supporters of the space program. Mike has done graphics for NASA including the crew patch for STS-125, the recent Hubble Space Telescope servicing flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis and the department logo for Mission Operations. His work for Project Constellation includes the mission patch for the Ares I-X Development Flight Test. Last year, Mike was honored for his work with NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Medal.

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This is real hope and change, I hope it is setting in well for all of you, who voted for this guy last year. It is enough to ruin the country with massive spending but now the spending is not even going to anything worthwhile

I heard about this on NPR. It’s absolutely awful, also considering the Shuttle program just ended.

I want to thank both Mike&Denise as well as Andre for providing these editorials and sparking some debate here about something in the real world. It is refreshing to talk about something besides the ‘canon’ of a fictional TV show for once.

by the way ST-130 is about to launch with Trekkie Terry Virts on board. Virts appeared in an episode of ENT:

watch it on http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

I just think it would be so exciting to go back to the moon. Imagine the hi-def images we would get on there now. And it would surely renew interest and excitement in the space program again, wouldn’t it? Here’s to hoping we go back to the moon…

We really need to get back to the moon. It has been such a long time since we’ve sent astronauts there that it will feel fresh and inspire a new generation, not to mention give NASA a recent accomplishment to lean on. If Constellation is our best way back, we need to support it.

@4: It would be exciting, and make no mistake I’d want it to happen like nobody’s business, but would we get any real advancement out of it? What would we get out of it (scientific, commercial, whatever) other than bragging rights?

@3: To be honest, I’m amazed it’s stayed as civil as it has been so far. I keep expecting this site to break out in paroxysms of, “It’s Bush’s/Obama’s/Some other politician I don’t like’s fault”…

It’s crazy to think that the last time we went to the Moon, TOS had barely just gone off the air. I hope that helps people realize how LONG ago it was. How is it possible that people in the 1960’s were venturing into space, while us in our “advanced,” modern-day contemporary setting have stagnated into the ground? Sure, they didn’t have frivolous, stupid stuff like iPods, HDTVs, “Avatar”-quality CGI or Xbox 360s back in the 60’s, but they had the capability to GO TO THE F*CKING MOON.

We should be at Mars by now.

Next time someone laughs at the effects of TOS, they should just realize that – so what if the TV effects in the 60’s weren’t the way they are now? Who the hell cares? Are we really “better” because our entertainment has advanced to an incredible level? Is that what really counts – our iPods? At least back in those days they were focusing on better things, like flying to the Moon.

Seriously great article, and a great topic.

I find myself torn on this issue. On one hand, I genuinely liked the idea of going back to the moon. I remember when I read 2001: A Space Odyssey ages ago, thinking that bases on the moon would be the coolest thing ever (I also thought that they would be there in 2001). On the other hand, 2 shuttle disasters and decline in public interest have practically grounded NASA. Lets face it, the coolest things that have been done by NASA in the last 10 years have only involved people on the Houston side of a monitor.

If I were to build a pro/con list in my head, I can’t really think of too many reasons to go to the moon at this stage. Sure, it’d be great to go back, but once you’re there, what are you achieving? They could bring back some more moon rocks, maybe set up a small permanent settlement that would be expensive and grossly underused, or build a launch site for future missions with the same issues as the settlement, but that’s it. That process would take more than a decade. Sure I suppose that they could run a bunch of tests of long term exposure to moon gravity, but I don’t think that that’s what NASA needs right now.

There may not be a goal set right now, but I really believe that there has to be one in the works. Seriously, they’re NASA…I’m pretty sure that everything down to their necessary bodily functions plays a part in a larger plan. What I think NASA really needs to do to get back to into the public consciousness is something bold, and something fresh that we haven’t seen yet. NASA was at it’s best when it was taking risks, and the eyes of the world were upon it. How many people watched that first moon landing? Or would it be easier to ask how many people DIDN’T watch it? It’s one of the greatest moments in human history. What Purolator said is true, the interests of people have shifted, and for NASA to succeed I think that they need to shift back.

The approach that NASA is looking at right now, I personally think is the right one. To quote the article from the other day:

“Imagine trips to Mars that take weeks instead of nearly a year, people fanning out across the inner solar system, exploring the moon, asteroids and Mars nearly simultaneously in a steady stream of firsts.
– NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, February 1, 2010”

Now, that’s a fairly open-ended statement. I could say “Imagine a peanut butter sandwich that cures cancer”, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen, but if this is what NASA is working on then I’m THRILLED. I’ll take back what I said before (there not being any reason to go back to the moon). If we take the above statement as their “plan of action”, turning months into years, they could turn a trip to the moon from days into hours. If you have a vehicle that can travel from the moon, and back to the earth’s orbit with private companies sending astronauts or civilians up to a station for pickup, then they could conceivably do a 2 or 3 trips to the moon a week. This of course would rely on a renewable source of fuel, and technology that doesn’t exist yet, but that would certainly be something to get excited about and something that we haven’t seen before.

Reading that last part back it sounds wee bit insane. I don’t know, to me this all boils down to “Space travel is hard, NASA isn’t going anywhere right away, there are no bases on the moon yet, and in 5 years I should have a floating skate board according to Back to the Future II.”

Also, I talk/type too much.

#7 — I’d agree with you if entertainment devices had been the only thing scientists had been working on for the past 40 years. But there have been advances in a number of life-changing and live-saving ways, not just the entertainment field. There are much better things to focus on than being able to fly to the moon.

Now I’m not saying NASA hasn’t helped in that. In fact, I think NASA’s overall mission is crucial and does make HUGE contributions to applicable technology. But going to the moon isn’t the only way to continue that mission and ipods vs. astronauts is a straw argument.

We need to go back to the Moon. The principal reason would be to revive the Vision. Right now we are mired in mediocrity when it comes to manned space flight. Low earth orbit does not excite the imagination. It does not inspire a people to reach beyond their grasp. We need the Moon so we can exceed all of our boundaries. We are getting too settled in our ways. Once you are too settled, you stagnate, and once you stagnate you die. Give me life!

Going to the moon would just have been a failed attempt of reliving the glory days of the old NASA. What was really needed was the investment in science listen to Phil Plait: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/01/president-obamas-nasa-budget-unveiled/

When many people think of the benefits of the previous moon missions, the most common thought may be…velcro. However the benefits to all went far beyond that. Thousdands of good paying jobs were created and the technological advances help people in all walks of life.
If the Consetllation project is indeed cancelled, this would kill manned space flight for the United States for decades. As far as I know, no replacement for the shuttle is in the works and private ventures have yet to pay off and won’t in the forseeable future. We can not depend on Russia to continue to carry our astronauts to and from the ISS. One political incident, one military action and that cooperation ends.
The United States will further surrender it’s lead as a provider of advanced technology, something we can not afford to do in these times. As the Constellation program develops, new and innovative technologies will be developed, which will effect all our lives. These new technologies may also result in new industries, employing thousands.
I encourage you to contact your congressmen and voice your support for manned space flight in the United States. While the upfront cost is very expensive, the long term loss to our country and economy is far more.

I still think it’s selfish that the federal government is “tightening it’s belts” and considering 90 billion dollars a feverish waste, but the Democrats have no problem attempting to ramrod a 1.7 trillion dollar project as the last chance to pull pork out before the opposition gets 41 votes in the Senate. It’s all about making your Party look good and not what’s actually good for the American people or the world.

Corporate rocket technicians? Most likely going to cut corners somewhere to get the greatest return. The safest place for space to be is in the international government-run programs like NASA.

sorry Mike and Denise, but I’m kinda glad Constellation is being scrapped… I’m all for going to the Moon and beyond, but I’m also for developing the technology to do so… if making things safer and more cost-effective means wasting that money on a half-century-old design then I say wait until they come up with something worthy of this century and millennium. I gotta say I was very disappointed when I heard that’s what they were using to replace the shuttle. Hopefully some good comes out of this though. This might put pressure on commercial spacecraft developers to get the public excited about space travel and could lead to innovations in spacecraft tech and designs. All this in ways NASA alone probably couldn’t accomplish. And hopefully NASA’s new budget will go to developing better methods of propulsion, and a NEW spacecraft design. Perhaps something that could skip the moon altogether and go straight for Mars. :)

I don’t know which NASA route is the best right now, but I’m pretty sure that once the Chinese are ready and on their way to the moon, we’ll be playing catch-up.

What will this do to our ability to at least get to the ISS in low earth orbit? I suspect we’ll be using Soyuz for awhile longer than aniticipated. Nothing wrong with a little international cooperation but we need our own spacecraft… stat!

In creating a website in support of NASA’s Project Constellation and in publicizing the need to save our manned space program, the Okudas have done a great service for space exploration. One point in their article I found most informative was their observation on the reliability of the key technologies used in Project Constellation. Part of the President’s proposals emphasized that research and development was necessary to assure future access to the Solar System. Yet, equally important is the need to assure the safety of the astronauts we ask to engage in that exploration. Project Constellation balanced these two concerns.

Project Constellation was, in essence, the ultimate research and development effort, and it served the same function that NASA’s original Mercury-Gemini-Apollo programs did on a much vaster and interplanetary scale. Terminating the Mercury, Gemini, or Apollo programs would have made it much more difficult, if not impossible, for private enterprises such as SpaceX to justify efforts toward human spaceflight. Likewise, to the extent that it is terminated, the R & D toward Constellation’s implementation that would give rise to future versions of SpaceX would no longer exist.

At the same time, as the Okudas noted, the idea that an entirely new system based on untested technology should be used to send astronauts into deep space is needlessly risky when we already have the means in the form of Shuttle-based technology to help guarantee the safety of human explorers.

I join the Okudas in asking for your support of our common future in space. Your passion is desperately needed. Please write your Congressman or Senator and, in firm but polite terms, state your strong support of the future of manned spaceflight and your opposition to President Obama’s cancellation of Project Constellation.

Thank you.

Anthony — sorry, if I missed it, but could you do a wrap-up of all the great science done aboard the ISS? I know there are some achievements, but it’s easy to miss the point of having an ISS sometimes.
Just a thought.

Buzz Aldrin agrees with the proposed plan, and he has the most expertise to be forming an opinion about this. Obama’s plan represents a way for true innovation to come back to NASA and to space exploration as opposed to using outdated and lackluster methods. People who think Project Constellation was a great program were completely unaware of its true meaning and progress.

Buzz Aldrin, with all due respect, is wrong. There are astronauts (e.g., Walter Cunningham, Tom Jones) who have publicly voiced their strong opposition to the evisceration of our manned spaceflight program.

The President’s proposal disingenuously uses the Augustine Commission’s Flexible Path option as a purported basis for future development. But the Commission never contemplated destroying Project Constellation in order to pursue that path — or any path. It could not have done so, since it would require the use of Ares and Orion to reach the moons of Mars or nearby asteroids under that option.

Defending the President’s proposal, NASA Administrator and Obama appointee Charles Bolden claimed that because NASA will help fund private efforts to supply manned flights to the International Space Station, for that reason, NASA hasn’t abandoned human spaceflight. But this is absurd. Even the Augustine Commission would never have considered mere ISS resupply missions to serve the funded goals of the Flexible Path.

The Augustine Commission was concerned that other options (landing on the Moon, for example) were unrealistic for the reason that there would not be enough money. For that reason, the Commission proposed preserving some aspects of Project Constellation AND FUNDING THEM to pursue the Flexible Path.

The Obama proposal removes all funding from Project Constellation, thereby in effect annihilating any possibility that the Flexible Path could be fulfilled as proposed, along with any other option proposed by the Commission.

For Dr. Jones’ comments on Obama’s plan, please see:


Even Burt Rutan of Virgin Galactic’s Scaled Composites has expressed his opposition to the Obama proposal, despite the fact that his SpaceShipOne is often cited as the gold standard for private manned spaceflight.

I for one am glad. I support the space program but we have to make cuts in the budget somewhere.

If we want to right the budget all programs are on the block.

I support the President’s decision to make cuts.

And for those that want to bash the President’s Hope and Change. Hey, you got some change now…with a program cut.

The President hasn’t made cuts. He’s increased NASA’s budget. So the idea that NASA’s budgetary imprint has been decreased to save America from budgetary armageddon is simply mistaken.

It’s just that the President has decided to kill Constellation in favor of pie-in-the-sky research and development that he, like King Canute, effectively commands to shorten our space travel time from nearly a year to just weeks.

If you believe that technological breakthroughs are any respecter of political commands, then I have a mountaintop home in the Mariana Trench I’d like to sell you. I can almost guarantee you an interesting view.


Just speaking “Trekish” here, but imagine the Vulcans watching our space efforts.

“They will attempt to proceed to a neighboring planet without testing the survival science on their nearby satellite. Highly illogical.”

I don’t know who is advising Obama, but it’s time that that person experiences an airlock and subsequent results.

It is patently asinine, but hardly surprising, that this administration is willing to throw billions of dollars in black holes under the gospel of “stimulus,” yet with a chance to underpin an industry that has benefitted humanity in incalculable ways, backs away under some misguided notion of fiscal restraint.

To think that we are only about five decades removed from the visionary notion of JFK to put a man on the moon, and that such vision is now replaced with crawling into a hole. People blamed both prior Bush administrations for not understanding this “vision thing,” yet it is ironic indeed to find out that *this* media-darling president is the one taking the notion of a return to space exploration *fostered by the previous Bush administration* and throwing it summarily in the dumper.

I guess Obama wants to throw a few billion more bucks at some clunker cars and more totalitarian health “care.” Gotta *love* that kind of vision.

I am very concerned about the US in general. We have such huge debt (generated by both Democrats and Republicans to keep their hold on power) that will eventually crush our country. The mothballing of the space program is just the beginning. And we are mothballing it. Private enterprise is not going to create spacecraft to explore the Solar System. Not until there is some profit to be earned. Lets face it, their would be little economic gain and a huge risk beyond imagining. Eventually someone will get to Mars and beyond, but it will not be us. Eventually, the world will look to that other country, whoever they are (China, Russia, India, etc) as a world leader in science. As they increase in stature, we will diminish. When you look at history, the same story plays out. The beginning of our regression was the space shuttle. Instead of continuing moon missions, building bases on the moon, and going to Mars, we create a space vehicle that can only achieve low Earth orbit. Then we compound that with the space station. Instead of a space station that is expected to fall to Earth in 2020, we should have built a station on the moon that would have lasted far longer. People lost their excitement because we were not exploring anymore. The science experiments are great, but what people get interested in is real space exploration, going somewhere. Some posters have stated the Apollo program was cancelled due to some flaw. It was cancelled because Nixon (and later Carter) determined that space exploration just did not matter anymore. The Orion vehicle was modelled after the Apollo program. It was hugely successful and could have been a forerunner to greater things to come. JFK must be terribly dissapointed. Instead of continuing his great vision, we have squandered it. And now it may be centuries before we go to Mars. Star Trek might as well take place in the 30th century.

Thank god that someone takes action and tries to save Constellation. I did send an email to the white house and to the comitee for science and technology to save Constellation – and believe it or not I am a German not American citizen. Its in the interest of the entire world to save Constellation and to encourage our kids by these “ultimate goals” to study science and technology.
This is not a series of landings at diffrent points on the moon for research like Apollo – its a step to step programm to erect a human presence on the moon and build a moon base. For all who encounter the stupid argument of thats just a repeatment of the Apollo landings. Can you imagine that after the discovery of America by Columbus everyone in europe celebrated and than decided that its logical to not return to America because we achieved that goal? Thats crazy!

You have my support and I have my fingers crossed,

Best regards and LIVE LONG AND PROSPER


#24–Before anyone takes me to task, I do acknowlege the sacrifice of Apollo 1 and the problems with Apollo 13. Still, the Apollo program was still a huge success and there is always risk. But the astronauts who died in Apollo 1, the Challenger and the Columbia would be greatly disappointed to find out that we were abandoning manned exploration of space.

#6 – you obviously haven’t been reading CS Lewis’ reactionary stuff.

Everyone seems to forget that HALF of the mission to the moon and mars was not being completed. Ares V (the heavy lift rocket) was not actively being developed/constructed due to budget constraints. Only Ares I was in a stage of early launch testing.

The brilliance of this plan is that it focuses on what commercial spaceflight can’t do, deep(er) space. The new budget includes 3.1 billion in next FY for a heavy lifter, money which was 5+ years out on the current course.

People also seem to forget that there are multiple companies that are trying to take over the manned missions to the ISS and LEO. SpaceX and the Delta IV Heavy are being man-rated for the same missions our shuttle was doing. This can be done sooner than Ares I was on track for, and at a much lower budget.

Why do people just *react* rather than analyze?

You consider Lewis to be reactionary? Geezus, is the world so upside down that the BushDynasty is perceived as radical left as well?

I am encouraged by the support for our space program that I see above. I genuinely hope that the American people — and others who share our aspirations toward the human exploration of space — make their positive feelings known.

There is one political possibility that has occurred to me, and that is that President Obama may be crazy — crazy like a fox. He may be using NASA as bait so that those Senators who support Constellation, but who oppose his health care proposals, will agree to “logroll” and offer their support for health care in return for restoration of funding for our human spaceflight program.

Cynical though this may be, such are the ways of politics.

However, we cannot rely on this possibility, and the greater likelihood is that the Administration is, in fact, committed to this disastrous path for NASA.

Given the stakes involved for all humanity, we must make our thoughts known. In view of increasing knowledge about cosmic threats from asteroids such as Apophis and billions of similar objects as yet undetected, humanity cannot afford to dilly-dally given the threat to planetary existence.

It has become clearer as the years go on: Beyond even the aspiration to explore our Solar System, the continued development of the means to protect our planet from such threats as far away from the Earth as possible using the most powerful technological means we have available may be critical to the continued existence of our species in the universe. The destruction of concerted development of the most capable of vessels using all available national means may lead, directly or indirectly, to cataclysms greater than any in human experience.

In destroying Constellation, we may be destroying our own future.

The Constellation program may be bloated and just a bigger redo of Apollo, but it is better than nothing. I am disappointed, but not surprised, by Obama’s cutting of this program. Someone at his White House said “we don’t need to go back to the moon,” so I guess that sums up Obama’s position on it.
I miss the space program. This is not how the 21st Century was supposed to be.

28, D, I just read your message. Please be advised that Dr. Tom Jones, a four-time Shuttle astronaut, is one of those who has actually read and analyzed the President’s proposal.

He states, in part, as follows:

“Even worse, the cancellation of Constellation replaces the Ares V heavy-lift rocket with “research and development” on building such a vehicle, someday. Without such a Saturn V-class launcher, Americans will never get out of low Earth orbit (where we have been marooned for nearly 40 years). The president’s advisers have now placed the U.S. on a par with other countries that can reach low Earth orbit. Soon, China will surpass that capability, and is now a clear favorite to be the next nation to send its explorers into deep space. We will watch, helpless to follow.”

Thus, the analysis you encourage yields only confirmation that the destruction of Constellation means the annihilation of the lift capacity you advocate, to be replaced by vague promises of research and development.

Constellation must be preserved.

Source: http://skywalking1.wordpress.com/

It shows us how far we’ve fallen to remember how quickly we were on the moon — HAVING NEVER GONE THERE BEFORE — following Kennedy’s announced goal of going there, and to imagine a finished Constellation launch pad that what? Will now rust away with weeds growing up around it?

And there are many good reasons for going back to the moon, not least of which is for HELIUM 3. Rare on Earth and problematic to extract or make, not so much so on the moon.

And you can bet that India, China, and Russia are interested in those lunar helium 3 deposits as well.

But to get it we would have to establish a large mining operation, and that will take time, time that we should be spending now. Because it’s not just about planting flags, it’s about solving energy problems on Earth in a way that no other energy solution can do.

Add to that the fact that human population grows while the Earth stays the same size, and outward seems to be the only humane way to go.

Space travel isn’t just something cool to do. It gives us a means of protecting this fragile blue ball we live on.

Space is our future, or our future is grim.

30 – Health care is dead, it is jobs, jobs, jobs now: Obama and party finally realized. So kill a program that, if nothing else, generated jobs.
I think he just defaulted to a kneejerk reaction of ‘kill the space program’.
I was hoping for more from Obama, at least the status quo, so we could limp along, but not even that apparently. Very disappointing.

Going to the moon is a waste of time. We have already been there and there is nothing there but rocks and old orbiter landing vehicles. Why go back wards when we have many spending troubles here already. Why dont we balance our budget and pay off debt before we spend billions for a few rock samples?!?!

35 – see #25 and #33

^27 Imrahil

Perhaps one must have a vested interest to understand. When faced with the reality of actually paying for a boondoggle such as moon shots or universal welfare or acting as “policemen to the world”, one tends to reasses one’s priorities. Those without responsibility are naturally flip and profligate with other people’s lives.

Yet I have a vested interest in the success of America. It falls to my generation to pay the bills for the irresponsible Baby Boomer generation (largely informed by their family history via Ellis Island) and their Marxist inspired rebellion against all that is holy. (Please read the autobiography of David Horowitz for details on this.)

That interest, backed up by four centuries of family blood sacrifice, means the bills will be paid, order restored. Our finances will be set once more to a responsible footing. Ill-conceived policies implemented from the late 1960s onward are being repealed and reversed despite the best efforts of the present government.

The band has been sent home. The party is over.

C.S. Lewis

Thank you for presenting both sides on this issue. Conservatives seem to be supporting NASA and O’Bama private industry. We live in intersting times. My concern is that we will be dependent on a foriegn space agency to get our guys into orbit. We dropped the ball and need to get our “stuff” together.

For all who see going to the moon as a waste of time…next time you hear your microwave go ding, think about all the technologies that we now have because of the Apollo program.

“We” the humans of Earth… still have quite the space program.

It just won’t be in the control of NASA any longer.

The Eurasian Space Probe Alliance coming soon, will federate China, Russia, Japan, India and Europe space programs for the greater good, and this sort of non-American program will get to the moon next, and Mars first. Count on it.

The age of the American Empire is over. It’s buried beneath a pile of debt from ill-begotten military interventions, and ill-begotten social programs. Both hawkish right, and socialist left have done it in.

#38 To assume this is a conservative/liberal issue is inane. Both the Republicrat and Demopublican parties together have bankrupted the US.

41 – True.

I believe Obama is making a mistake with his proposal. We need to go to Mars, the belt and further out. The first step to this is going back to the moon.

For those who want to talk about balancing the budget, how about recalling our troops and ending our part in these ridiculous police actions around the globe.

This one planet is the birthplace of humanity and will be it’s grave if we don’t get out to the stars.

41- How soon we forget that the Clinton administration tamed the deficit, and left office with a hefty surplus! And that the Democrats have supported “pay as you go” in Congress, which would have made Bush II actually pay for his tax cuts. (“Pay as you go” has recently been restored–by the Democrats.) And that Bush II never put Iraq war spending on the budget–dishonestly, if you ask me–and Obama has corrected that. And that Obama is deficit spending to pull us out the economic disaster left by…you guessed it.

Let’s be square with the facts about who is responsible for the deficit hole we’re in.

This is not a partisan issue, but a national and human one. We must never forget that the Earth may be overdue for another meteor strike; the Tunguska event occurred on June 30, 2008 — over a century ago. It released the equivalent of five megatons of energy. That kind of impact pales in comparison with what an asteroid such as Apophis could generate.

Dr. Tom Jones does not believe that Apophis is likely to hit the Earth. However, there are those who conclude that we do not know from available data whether its pass in 2029 will change its orbit so that, by 2036, it will.

Given the pace of technological development, it greatly behooves us to prepare for all possibilities.

Correction: “This is not a partisan issue, but a national and human one. We must never forget that the Earth may be overdue for another meteor strike; the Tunguska event occurred on June 30, 1908 — over a century ago.”

It all comes down to a lack of leadership.

Hey 44, let’s be honest, Obama quadrupled it.

During the campaign, Obama promised to support space exploration and the return to the Moon. He needs to be reminded of this.

The budget has a record deficit, yet we are cancelling worthwhile projects. What’s the vision? What’s the goal?