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1 shutdown  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 8:58:55am

The NSF and NOAA I believe do work in the public interest that is best funded with public money. As much as I love NASA and space exploration, and I believe the ultimate future of the human species lies in being able to migrate away from Earth - I wonder if space exploration has reached a point where it would be most efficient to encourage private sector development. Seed money from the NSF and DARPA or some new agency which would replace NASA; but is NASA really still the best way to make the most progress in the most efficient way? Perhaps the public hand has moved space travel along as far as it can or should, and it is time for the next stage in developing the physical means for space exploration, with the government encouraging certain scientific initiatives and private industry bearing the cost and reward of space travel itself.

2 Decatur Deb  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 9:06:57am

No truly private space stockholder alive today is going to make a buck out of anything but near-Earth orbit. If we're getting to the planets and beyond, it's a socialist commie government job. I want a few of my tax bucks spent that way.

3 shutdown  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 9:14:48am

re: #2 Decatur Deb

I agree to a point. As I think about it more, it seems that NASA has held on to more of the development and deployment work than necessary. Government support for academic or private initiatives to launch satellites, scientific equipment, etc. should take the place of actual NASA control. Let NASA (or whatever takes its place) focus on "edge of the enveloppe" stuff, like manned space flight to Mars and beyond. Public/private partnerships are a viable alternative to exclusive government control. Increasing the efficiency of how money is spent is important if progress is to be made.

4 Decatur Deb  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 9:22:59am

re: #3 imp_62

I agree to a point. As I think about it more, it seems that NASA has held on to more of the development and deployment work than necessary. Government support for academic or private initiatives to launch satellites, scientific equipment, etc. should take the place of actual NASA control. Let NASA (or whatever takes its place) focus on "edge of the enveloppe" stuff, like manned space flight to Mars and beyond. Public/private partnerships are a viable alternative to exclusive government control. Increasing the efficiency of how money is spent is important if progress is to be made.

That's why I put "purely" in the "private space" category. If a company depends on government contracts, it's in many ways a governmental entity. No one has yet found a salable resource beyond near space, and no one will ever take private risk to find one.

5 shutdown  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 9:35:24am

re: #4 Decatur Deb

...No one has yet found a salable resource beyond near space, and no one will ever take private risk to find one.

We can discuss this over drinks at the "Virgin Lunar Spa and Resort" in about 20 years...
I think private money can be encouraged to take risks the government cannot or should not. Partial guaranty of principal, co-investment, etc. can encourage private risk takers. I believe that visionaries tend to reside in the private business space, not in the government.

6 Decatur Deb  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 9:37:58am

re: #5 imp_62

We can discuss this over drinks at the "Virgin Lunar Spa and Resort" in about 20 years...
I think private money can be encouraged to take risks the government cannot or should not. Partial guaranty of principal, co-investment, etc. can encourage private risk takers. I believe that visionaries tend to reside in the private business space, not in the government.

Columbus sailed on a government ship.

7 shutdown  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 9:43:29am

re: #6 Decatur Deb

Columbus sailed on a government ship.

Precisely. Subsequent trips were made by private and government sponsored entities. Worst case scenario: a quasi governmental private company like the Est India Company.

8 Decatur Deb  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 9:46:31am

re: #7 imp_62

Precisely. Subsequent trips were made by private and government sponsored entities. Worst case scenario: a quasi governmental private company like the Est India Company.

That's because he brought back gold, not 60kg of pet rocks. Corporate geniuses seem to hang close to the quarterly statement. They're never starting for Mars.

9 shutdown  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 10:00:46am

re: #8 Decatur Deb

That's because he brought back gold, not 60kg of pet rocks. Corporate geniuses seem to hang close to the quarterly statement. They're never starting for Mars.

I recently saw a very interesting program on Science Channel relating how humans might "terraform" Mars. Creating a vast arable planet would be a bonanza for private enterprise. With some government incentives and seed money, certainly - at least initially. The issue to me is not that government should not be involved; I am an advocate of government support for science, research, transportation, etc. But government never seems to know when to let go of programs it has created. Look at Amtrak.

10 Decatur Deb  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 10:44:54am

Terraform it, rename it Galt's Gulch, send the Captains of Industry, then blow the launch facility.

11 Daniel Ballard  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 12:02:46pm

re: #4 Decatur Deb

The shareholders of aerospace corp. did just fine during Apollo and the shuttle programs.

12 Decatur Deb  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 12:05:32pm

re: #11 Rightwingconspirator

The shareholders of aerospace corp. did just fine during Apollo and the shuttle programs.

Our tax dollars at work. A government contractor is the government, not "free markets".

13 Daniel Ballard  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 12:20:22pm

re: #12 Decatur Deb

When the new frontier could be reached on foot (or horseback) private efforts were the best. Considering the technology required to build the 21st century equivalent of the wagon train, it's all about government. We can cut back NASA again and again. Then when Boeing goes, they can be greeted by the Chinese. And beg "pretty please" for expensive landing rights.

14 Decatur Deb  Thu, Jul 7, 2011 12:23:40pm

Even by 1817, Big Socialist Government was needed to create the Erie Canal. The libertarians have been bitching ever since.

[Link: www.eriecanal.org...]


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