Thursday, June 4, 2009

Human Expansion: NASA + Everyone Please

A discussion today occurred with respect to the new NASA Administrator (Bolden) and his potential ability to govern NASA to the goal of getting us set on the Moon. This in addition to Garver, the Deputy Admin. Someone brought up that we haven't had a great NASA Admin since Webb, of Apollo days fame.

Webb may have been great, but he also had a huge budget and was being supported by the entire nation in the endeavor because of the time in which he presided. Neither of those are very apparent today, so the climate matters.

A successful person in history is justified by two distinct things -- the character of the person and the time at which they exist. Turn any one of those things negative and that person stands a snowball chance in Hell of doing anything great.

You may be an amazing person, but live in the wrong "time" and your vision will most likely go unfulfilled. You may live in the best "time" in humanity, but have not the character to invoke the proper progress.

NASA cannot go to the Moon on its own, and I don't care what anyone says. The Administrator, no matter who it is, cannot move mountains, change the NASA culture overnight, or wave a magic wand to suddenly increase the funding necessary to actually pull off the task in a reasonable time.

A partnership between the international community and our own home grown Private Space Industry is what will be necessary for a serious and sustained presence on the Moon, or anywhere else for that matter. Why is this so difficult to understand?

We are talking about a movement that takes humanity OFF Earth for permanent residence. This is not just a project. This is not just a short term PR move. This is not a flash in the pan. Well, it shouldn't be anyway. What makes anyone think that one nation alone can foot the bill or complete the task within one lifetime?

Sure, countless baby steps over the course of a few hundred years could suffice for the development of one nation expansion, but is anyone who is serious and interested in human exploration and development that patient? If you want a Moon base in 20 years, then dammit, we need an all encompassing global initiative to get the job done.

If Bolden can push to that end, then fantastic. If Garver can join him, then fantastic. But I have little faith that either one of them can do proper justice if they maintain the status quo.


Marcel F. Williams said...

The Ares V should be able to land 15 to 20 tonnes of payload on the lunar surface. So it shouldn't take more than three or four launches to build a small robot assembled and properly regolith shielded facility on the lunar surface. And if we want to make it larger, just launch more base component units on the Ares V rockets. We had 9 Space Shuttle launches back in 1985. So launching an unmanned vehicle like the Ares V should be much easier-- and safer.

We could probably have a lunar base within 10 years, if we accelerated the funding for the Ares V. And this could probably be done by keeping the Space Shuttle and eliminating the $40 billion in funding for the Ares One.

11th_Dimension said...

Hello Douglas, I was replying to an absurd reply on Space and noticed your rant and discovered your blog. Lol your comment:
Damn, this rant is good. I'm going to post it on my blog. :)
So I thought, “My rant is pretty good too- I think I’ll post it on YOUR blog- cause it relates.

See below:

MrCacrl wrote: Why complain about a U-turn?

Hey Dude ever heard of a flip-flop? The problem with Obama is that he does not just flip or "U-turn" he FLOPS!!! In other words he goes back on his word, is deceitful and goes back to his old Marxist ways. Obama's bible is Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals. Obama in his last speech used the personal pronoun "I" 41 times. He is an egotistical maniac. His budget over the next few years is (depending which report you read) 4 to 10 TRILLION dollars. More money than Bushes, Clinton and Reagan combined. And no new money for NASA. Stop drinking the Obama Kook-Aid.

What do you think?

Norman Copeland said...

Responding] the previous opinion...

Hello sir, I beleive my opinion will be best served upon your forgiving nature as I my be allowed to speak with total honesty and attempt to add clarity to what could be an interesting conversation.

After I read your opinion the first thing I realised that [as many times I do] was that it was an opinion that did not think about the security of the U.S.A.

The reason I'm saying this is because everything about the american constitution is an attempt to unify an entire continent and the american flag in every classroom is testiment of that fact. I do believe that every united states senator and politician agrees with that particular principle.

Having clarified that, I believe that considering your words of probable concern you may be breaching the very fibre and fabric of that which is nationalistically important to you. Its really important that good Americans who really care like yourself get the 'right' message and please don't just gawp at what may seem like crazy madness political fiscal policies.

The united staes of America has a huge responsibility to the western world particularly considering its job a main economic prop.

You must try to curb your frustration from venting to arenas that may influence people against your own country, it makes you weaker, less unified and seem as if you don't really have a clue as what your doing.

Believe me friend, America knows whats its doing, the George bush jr and senior administrations we're 'very' 'very' successful, because of the intelligence abilities that the american government needed to play with the rest of the world.

Computers has seen the medium for the information highway create a whole new empire for opportunity and particularly intelligence gathering for terrorists. If you consider what the Bush's and Clinton have just ushered the 'entire world' through, believe me, you will be a ''very'' proud man.

Saying that, we have a beautiful planet that we do care about, we may struggle to join our differences as our cultures learn to emmerge and merge with each other, but, we're doing it, so, give us a chance, its only money.

We're trying to stop china and india from effectively innadvertively bring {what would be from my opinion a very welcome} communism to the world just because of the cost of work labour those continents can afford.

We have restricted asian business unfairly for the protection of our economic infrastructures which we are struggling to ajust accordingly, we're not at war with communisn, on the contrary we're trying to work out how we now merge as the complete planet we are.

These men are doing the sums on our behalf, so, give them some credit, they need it, the worlds population has developed at such a fast speed that these men have got a huge task to keep pace with the resources, how we utilise them and remember, modern transport as totally shrunk the world.

These previous 50 years have really seen a change of immense proportions, and yes, we chose these men to govern for us, but, trust me, they get it, its a tough job that needs more than a 5 minutes press conference, but, they can't explain the intricacies to everyone because it will just be a mad arguement of how best proceed.

I don't believe people who believe in faith, but, I have faith in men.

Think about it...

Let's protect each other.

Douglas Mallette said...

11th Dimension - I try hard to refrain from political debate on here as much as possible with respect to anything other than space. However, I'll address your comment anyway...

Domestically, I can't stand Obama. Hand outs, bail outs, and lack of personal responsibility is exactly what the Progressive Liberal movement is all about and it sickens me. Case in point for myself: wife and I are looking to downgrade from renting a house to renting a smaller apartment until I get my PhD. We can pay the bills now, barely, but want to build a savings. Can't do that presently, so we're downsizing to make it happen. We're taking personal responsibility for our lives and doing what is necessary to live well, not necessarily extravagantly. Downsizing doesn't seem to be in the Liberal vocabulary.

However, internationally I like (somewhat) what he's doing. His speech in Cairo was of a tone that offered respect to a large number of people that really have no beef with America. What drove me nuts about Bush was the "Us vs. Muslim" mentality that seemed to prevail, without proper dialog to quell that opinion.

Now, time will tell if any of those words will turn into successful actions, but I like his tone. We'll see.

None of this has to do with space though, and there are far too many political debates to be had and I don't have the time. lol.

Norman - You can still support your country without agreeing with your leaders. You'll always find a healthy portion of people who disagree with the leadership at the moment. Disagreement breeds discussion and hopefully, if cool heads prevail, a more positive result. I can't stand 70% of what Obama does, and even less of what those selfish, egotistical, power hungry bastards in Congress do, but no one can question my devout love of country.

I do believe that there are some people who are down right selfish and power hungry, caring less about the general well being of others, and more focused on their own personal gain, but I don't feel that way about the majority of Americans. We may disagree on what course to take for continued success, safety and prosperity, but we are looking for the same net result.

It just so happens that less government, individual freedom, proper (but not choking) regulations and a free market economy have historically proven to be a recipe for success. That's where we need to be.