The GOP hates students, loves their debt payments.
Watermelon tourmaline, both came off the same piece mined from Paprok Mine in Afghanistan
Boldly Go? Can Humanity Afford ‘Star Trek’-Like Space Exploration?
The public has no shortage of enthusiasm for fictional spacefarers, as this weekend’s box-office win by the newest “Star Trek” film proves. Yet the real-life U.S. space agency finds itself strapped for cash these days. With federal budgets tightening and NASA feeling the pinch, some space advocates are asking, “Can humans afford to reach the stars?”
Believe it or not, experts are looking into the finances of not just relatively short-term missions to Mars and the moon, but also long-term prospects of ‘Trek’-ian proportions. It may be possible to find the money, they say, but it would likely take some policy changes — and those changes could start today.
Captain, we don’t have the funding!
“Star Trek: Into Darkness” brought in about $84 million in its opening weekend — just a month after NASA cut $200 million from its planetary-sciences budget. (In an odd move, NASA’s newest budget explicitly states that it will notfund any missions to Europa, the ice-moon of Jupiter that stands as one of the solar system’s best candidates for supporting life, noted Casey Dreier, an advocacy and outreach strategist at The Planetary Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to planetary exploration.)
Those cuts come as NASA and the rest of the federal government negotiate sequestration cuts, which could trim $7 billion from NASA’s ledgers next year if the reductions are maintained.
But even without the sequester, NASA hasn’t commanded the kind of money needed for real, ambitious space travel in decades, said Marc Millis, a former NASA propulsion physicist and founder of the Tau Zero Foundation, which is dedicated to interstellar travel.
After hitting an apex with the Apollo moon program, NASA’s purse shrunk considerably and has stayed stagnant since, Millis said. NASA’s funds reached about 4.5 percent of the total federal budget during the Apollo era, Millis calculated. By 2009, NASA’s share had fallen to about 0.5 percent. “The amount that’s devoted to NASA now is enough to keep it going,” he said. “But to do really cool space travel is not possible now.”
Essentially, the agency has floated along on autopilot, clutching at relatively low-hanging fruit, like the space-shuttle missions, said Paul Gilster, who researches and writes about interstellar technologies for Tau Zero. “We should have something else than just going ‘round and ‘round the Earth,” he said.
5/20/2013 One Year Anniversary @ Detroit Zoo
We had such a lovely time even though it was like 90 something degrees out. Grace and I met here on Tumblr and were LDR for quite a while. We are together now :) <3
bird privilege is being able to make loud as fuck noises early in the morning without somebody calling the cops on you
You know, the one that gives housewives/full-time mothers a pension— wages for housework?
It’s ONLY A HUGE VICTORY FOR FEMINISM, SOCIALISM, AND WOMEN OF COLOR. Not a big deal or anything. Tumblr is mysteriously silent about this.
Now that’s a morel! #morel #mushroom #tcmi #puremichigan (at Traverse City, MI)