January 27th, 2012
05:41 PM ET

Why GOP candidates are talking about space

CNN's John Zarrella shares his insights into what's going on with politics and the space program:

Newt Gingrich got a lot of mileage out of his comments on building a moon colony by 2020. Whether you think that should get him a one-way ticket to the moon on the first flight or you believe his vision is an inspiration, he did accomplish one big thing.

Gingrich got the conversation started. What kind of space program do we want? What kind can we afford? Had Gingrich not said what he said, the space program might have been totally ignored, as it has been so often in the past.

But it came up at the CNN debate Thursday night in Jacksonville. And it came up again Friday afternoon.

A group of leaders in America’s space program wrote an open letter in support of Mitt Romney. They blasted the Obama administration: “We have watched with dismay as President Obama dismantled the structure that was guiding both the government and commercial space sectors, while providing no purpose or vision or mission.”

Then, they anointed Romney as the candidate best suited to get the program back on track, writing, “We support Mitt’s candidacy and believe that his approach to space policy will produce results instead of empty promises.”

Those who signed this letter are not lightweights. On the list are two former astronauts: Bob Crippen, who flew the first space shuttle, and Gene Cernan, who was the last man on the moon. Michael Griffin, a former NASA administrator, is also on the list.

Folks within NASA won’t, of course, say anything publicly about the candidates. It wouldn’t be prudent to criticize someone who might end up holding your purse strings. The way it was put to me by a NASA insider is that they are watching with “cautious curiosity.”

Folks at the space agency also say they can’t afford to hit the restart button again. “That’s a very real worry,” says John Matson, associate editor for Scientific American. “If every administration has a different vision and direction then nothing is gonna happen.”

That is pretty much exactly what’s happened in recent decades. For a while, both Bush presidents talked of getting humans back to the moon and on to Mars. Of course, that went away, as it was deemed way too costly. Then the shuttle would be replaced by the Ares rocket. You remember that one? We in the media called it affectionately “the lawn dart.” It would take astronauts to the space station and an Ares-on-steroids version could go to the moon. That, too, went away.

Now, there is a supposed flexible path that this administration is following that maybe sends astronauts to an asteroid and eventually Mars using a new heavy lift rocket yet to be designed or built. So, when you say NASA is “wandering in the desert of space,” as Cernan told me once, it’s not all on the agency. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Matson says that one big criticism of the Obama space plan is “the flexible path doesn’t carry firm timelines. A lot of people worry we’re not gonna get anywhere.”

Now, I don’t think anyone is naïve enough to believe this space conversation will last after the candidates leave Florida. Maybe it will come up in Alabama and Texas, but not likely to the degree it has come up here, where thousands of jobs were lost when the shuttle program shut down.

Perhaps the most important thing in this entire space conversation has less to do with going to the moon or Mars and far more what you get out of it. Al Worden, who was command module pilot on Apollo 15, says it’s really about advancing technology. Worden says he thinks Gingrich gets it: “Who’s going to develop the future technology that’s needed if not through the space program? What kind of motivation do kids have without the space program?”

One of the quickest ways to become a second-rate nation lagging behind in technology, people like Worden and Cernan say, is to do away with space exploration.

The fact of the matter is, you can have all the big ideas you want if you’ve got the money. Right now, NASA is barely scraping by. Its $18 billion budget is about half of 1% of the federal budget. Apollo was about 4%. Matson says, “I’d be pretty shocked if he (Gingrich) even remotely put the kinds of money up that JFK did.”

But if he wants to go to the moon he might have to. It’s not likely commercial companies will pave the way. They need a reason for going, a return on the investment. How many years has it been since we landed on the moon? No one has been back since, at least not that we know of!

Anyway, they may be pandering for votes. But at least candidates are talking about space. That’s a start.

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Filed under: In Space • On Earth
soundoff (196 Responses)
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  3. Ron

    Republicans simply trying to come up with another excuse why we should throw Millions of contract dollars to the Military. If we continue with space exploration we should leave the Military COMPLETELY out of it, sounds fair.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Jesse

      Sure leave the military out of it and say hi for me to the nice Chinese or Iranian or some other country's soldier with his rifle in your face.

      February 11, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  4. hippypoet

    these morons think god is up there... they have all said that god called them to run for the pres. and now they are all discussing science! Is this confusing for anyone else??

    here, let me break it down for you – they fear science and must use it to appear as if they know of it...whats better then tossing out space stuff – after all these folks running are all from the decade where space was the sh!t and playing with astro-nuts was the best thing ever on a sunday afternoon sippin from sweet tea!

    Schizophrenia – a long term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, innappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into a fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation. Those who suffer from schizophrenia are not aware of the fact they are suffering from faulty perception, innappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into a fantasy and delusion.
    Delusion – An idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accecpted as reality.
    Reality – the world or the state of things as they actually exist.

    What good has the belief in god(s) done anyone? Ever? I think belief in oneself is far more powerful, meaningful, and useful to the lot then belief in anything else no matter how clearly imaginary or factual.

    Parents teach morals and ethics not the bible, simple. Those who place misguided ideals into imaginary creatures are ill-equiped to raise kids yet are encouraged to do so.
    If the number of christian psych ward patients are on the rise its high time we, those of intellect, should get the fu.ck out of here! Consider those religious sheep an experiment in how not to live. For example – Often used by many christians as an arguement for intolerence towards human rights...I pose that every religiously ran nation like that of Iran and Iraq are exactly what the religious in this supposedly tolerent country wish to turn this country into, where science and logically thought are frowned upon and knowledge of fairy tales are rewarded. Lets not forget that with religion held over fact you get an extreme nation of one sided misinformed citizens. And as in all things there exist extremes, and in society like these they are called fundamentalists. We have our own as well, but because they are ours they are tolerated. They then are shown as an example for our overall tolerance while being intolerant.Where does the hypocrisy end? Are we so sure this isn't a religiously ran nation while upholding laws that preach religious tolerance and separation from state. That would fit the bill for complete hyprocrisy and then at least they are consistant on one thing!

    You folks have conveniently forgotten that you took part in the slave trade, g@y bashing, witch killings, the inquisition, the crusades – i'm sure i could go on but i think these facts will fall to the wayside and once again be conveniently forgotten. If christianity has taught us anything, its that your god views us as sheep and will use us as such.Luckily for your kind you can sheer a sheep many times, however like a dog, you keep going back for your next beating! Perhaps you folks missed the part in sunday school where they discussed the bibles leaders being shepards...who tend a flock...but its clear that you people have more use to the whole NOT having ideas of your own..(ready for the pun).. god help us if you were ever to have one!

    The horrors of mankind are not exclusive to religion. I said they took part in the horrors while preaching tolerence, caring, loving, comp@ssion towards other...you know, all the stuff jesus spoke about...religion is no better then anything but it canbe used however. If religion is properly weilded, i.e. cult leader – the pope, it is much worse then all others for its appeal to the ignorant m@sses is like food to the hungry!

    God is an idea. Such an improbable idea that many have, to make the idea inarguable, said that the idea is beyond human comprehension and so by doing remove the need but more importantly the ability to prove and so make it an untouchable notion of truth based on an idea. How is that different from being delusional? You hold fast to an idea of an improbable, incomprehensible, and untouchable nature as if it is fact! Until you have tangible evidence for the existence of god, the notion of god remains in the realm of ideas. And thats a factual statement!

    The majority of the world population believes in some god(s) type. What conclusion do you draw from this?
    If your conclusion is anything but religion is harmful to the world as a whole, both its population and the planet itself, no matter how it makes you feel inside then i fear you have completely lost your grip on reality

    February 7, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  5. lefty avenger

    The Exploration is space could be man's greatest achievement if it were not for Wall Street bankers creating endless oil baron wars on earth.

    January 30, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  6. AmesIA

    Personally I think the space program when focused on good science and well managed can do great things. I have seen NASA at its best and worst firsthand while doing high speed research wind tunnel testing. Politically though it is ironic that the GOP is latching onto spending more on NASA as a good thing. The party of austerity, the party that pivots the words "research" and "investment" to mean "elitist" and "socialism". As an example, here on Earth there is a very real concern over hive collapse and the loss of bees could profoundly impact food security globally. A worthy investment in that science in modest millions has been used as a stump speech illustration of waste in every election since 2004. How much mileage would they get politically out of billions spent on a manned space mission project? They put Obama in a box on this one – if he had proposed any significant research or investment they would have painted it as an expensive pie in the sky fantasy wasting money that is needed right here on earth. Their cynicism oozes. Perhaps this is becoming a priority to keep defense and space companies viable if military spending is cut back or white color welfare is more acceptable than the other kinds.

    January 30, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • doughuts

      It always makes me laugh when the anti-space crowd talks about "wasting money in space that is needed on Earth." Where do they think the aerospace companies are located? Are they employing ETs?

      January 30, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • cw

      Anti-space? That's yet another bucket to put someone in now? Awesome.

      January 30, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  7. RenegadeFL

    They are talking about the space program because they are in Florida and they are pandering to Florida voters feeling the economic impact of the end of the shuttle program. Nothing any of them say can be taken with any amount of seriousness. Then again, that goes for pretty much anything they say regardless the topic.

    January 30, 2012 at 5:41 am |
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  8. Rob

    Newt just says what ever he needs to say to get votes. He is in Florida and wants votes so he said he wants to increase spending in space. Big surprise.

    January 30, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  9. Rick

    Moon colony by 2020, what in the world has he been smoking?

    January 30, 2012 at 2:52 am |
  10. mmi16

    The retrenchment of the Space program is the downfall of one of the key economic engines that drive the country. The technological requirements of space cause the invention of products and processes that drive the industrial and consumer products markets and create the jobs to build those products and processes. Want to kick start the US economy – fire up the space program for real....not just lip service.

    January 30, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  11. Alex

    One thing Gingrich and his fans do not understand is that moon colony is very different than Plymoth Colony. Even if you have all the technology to go there and live there, we still do not have money even just to stay there. Permanent base needs regular maintenance flights all the time and each of them will cost the whole NASA budget of a year.

    January 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • AmesIA

      It would be very challenging problem indeed! The Native Americans had already proven that North America had the stuff of life necessary to colonize. On the moon you would need to bring EVERYTHING with you. The curve on extracting material from that dry rock to be self sufficient will be steep and expensive.

      January 30, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • doughuts

      Ice at the lunar poles makes the idea somewhat more feasible. As a source of drinking water, fuel for rocket engines and fuel cells, and oxygen for breathing, it greatly cuts down the number of resupply flights.

      January 30, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  12. amarjeet

    GOP presidential candidates are talking about space because they have no insight & solution to problems of America & its people. They are talking of space as none can see including themselves what is going on in space & what they will do there without accountability,, performance & production of their thoughts & perception. It is a common saying” If you cannot do anything, talk of objectives never seen by human beings besides unachievable”

    January 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • akuh

      And yet, if you compare the mass of salmpes returned to Earth from the Apollo program to the combined sample return from every unmanned mission combined, you start to realize that even the auxiliary science from such an endeavor can dwarf targeted robotic yields.And that doesn\'t even cover the back-on-earth effects relating to instrumental and laboratory development in preparation for studying the moon rocks. Ever used an electron probe? An SEM? A SIMS instrument? All those technologies received major developmental assistance from the Apollo program.In 1977, The seismometers placed on the moon by the Apollo team were switched off in order to put money into new technology. 33 years later, they still haven\'t been replaced. As a result, we still don\'t know for sure whether or not the moon actually has a core, and what its composition is if it is there.Sometime in the next few years, astronomers will discover a Earth-sized planet around another star with orbital characteristics not too different from that of Earth. But they will not be able to say if that far-off world is earth-like or venus-like, because we will not have the salmpes and geophysical data required to understand the intricacies of how terrestrial planets form.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  13. roy

    Can we put all the candidates on a one way space shuttle to the moon and fire 50% of the news reporters who constantly babbles on and on about politicans and polls.

    January 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  14. Drew V

    Had we not drastically slashed NASAs funding after Apollo 11 we would already have bases on the moon and most likely have landed on Mars... had we continued a 4% investment in NASA over the last 45 years technology, medicine, and even our defense capabilities here on Earth would be decades ahead of where they are today... The root of our space shortcomings today lie in decisions made in 1969 and 1970... heck, before we had even landed on the moon NASA was already drawing up plans for the space shuttle... The shuttle was a 1960's idea, designed and built with 1970's technology, launched in the 1980's and served as our pick-up truck to space through the 2010's... all because NASA's plans for post-apollo were all scrapped due to budget cuts... yet even today NASA is by far the most cost-effect federal agency that yields the highest benefits to costs... they do some amazing things with relatively very little down there in Texas and Florida... NASA ought to be given 50 billion a year and told to "think big", work with the private sector to get commercial space access and tourism jump started, get back to the moon (there are a lot of huge economic long-term opportunities to permanently settling the moon, then look to Mars and BEYOND... The long-term survival of humanity depends on us extending our reach into the cosmos...

    January 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Andrew

      Well stated!

      January 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Luminus

      #@$% yeah!

      January 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Bilbo Boomerbottom

      Right on target;Carl Sagan himself would approve of your post!

      January 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Alex

      Medicine ? Sure, burning lots of fuel in space is the best way to find cure for cancer, no doubt about that.

      January 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
      • doughuts

        Moron. Ever heard of a CAT scan? How about an MRI? Both of those cam directly out of the space program.

        January 30, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Brian Fraser

      We need a very inexpensive way to access to space, say $1 per pound. Let's develop antigravity technology. Google "Advanced Stellar Propulsion Systems" and read the Motion Cancellers section for some ideas.

      January 30, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • AmesIA

      The 10-15 year latency between idea and execution is the norm and the pitfall of large projects. Part of it is anything interesting will have many elements that have never been done before and require invention breakthroughs. Then then to manage that risk and change design decisions need to be frozen (sometimes on old/existing level of technology). If it takes 10 years to design something there will be assumptions and components in the final product that are that old. To have the latest and greatest technology you need to be nimble and to be nimble you have to be small. To be small you have to make many small steps, not one big one. It is a tension that has been in the space program since the beginning.

      January 30, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  15. Ja-Coffalotte

    Neuter just wants to have GOP wife swapping fund raisers on the moon.

    January 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  16. Ponderer

    One of the quickest ways to become a second-rate nation lagging behind in technology, people like Worden and Cernan say, is to do away with space exploration.

    .....oh so true !...where there is no vision, the people perish !...it is slow death, it starts with the robbing of our children's dreams and aspirations.

    Our nation, a nation of free people, the last best hope for mankind s Lincoln said at Gettysberg, cannot abandon our childrens dreams...even though we seem not to care about our brave mane and women who are pushing the boundaries.

    Good that Newt brought the debate to the forefront, I hope POTUS listens as he plans his relelection campaign, I know he has a lot of other fires to put down globally, but he must find a way out for NASA...that has been treading water for too long......

    A government's duty is to do what its people cannot do by themselves...right ?...well, space activity is a shining example ! I am sure in coming months, POTUS will seize the momentum from other candidates...good luck Mr.Obama !

    January 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  17. bobby

    It looks like there is money to be made on mars.. Natural resources to exploit on the moon.

    January 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  18. charlotteguide.info

    I'm so overwhelm by the thought of man back on moon.Its our future .Whichever political party win the White house, should seriously looking into restarting the space program.

    January 29, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • kingwassabi

      Romney thinks the moon will put him closer to God's home planet.

      Chinese food stamps have Barry Soetoro's face on them.

      January 29, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • kingwassabi

      Romney thinks the moon will put him closer to God's home planet.

      Chinese food stamps have Barry Soetoros face on them

      January 29, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Shane

      I keep hearing that 1 Romney shill every time Romney tries to throw out a "gatcha" point on Gingrich.

      January 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  19. roy

    Hopefully all of them will buy a one way ticket to the moon and stay there.

    January 29, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • JCQueipo

      roy for president !!!!

      January 29, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  20. Greg56

    As looney as it sounds we need an active, goal-oriented space program. As a kid I was fascinated by space exploration, which as is turns the moon mission was my primary driver for majoring in science as an undergraduate student. I wound up being a chemistry professor and not an astronaut, but those early years studying space got me going in science. If we don't reach for lofty technological accomplishments like space travel what kind of motivation to learn and excel are we providing our younger generations? I would much rather my kids invest their lives in space travel and big innovations versus Wall Street.

    January 29, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Jean

      I, too, grew up watching NASA grow and do amazing things - go to the moon, build the space shuttles, etc. As a kid, of course I wanted to be an astronaut, then an astronomer. I ended up a mathematician and physicist. But without that early fascination the space race brought, I wonder if I would have taken that course?

      January 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  21. clarke

    I feel that spending money on space is something we don't need at the moment. Talk is cheap. Besides if they look at the spending being done line by line we are already spending money on things that I would consider to be space. I would love to see a line by line spending, I am sure I could cut a lot, pennies make dollars..

    January 29, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Alan S

      You make a reasonable point, Clarke, but please remember that all the money NASA spends "on space" is actually spent right here on Earth, the great majority of it in the United States. No "moon colonist" will spend even one dime on the moon. Scientists, engineers, technicians, builders, all get jobs and money - right here in Texas and Washington State and Florida and everywhere in between. And that leads to jobs for the truckers who move their goods, the grocers who sell them food, the kids who cut their grass, and so on. The space program is the ultimate "shovel ready" stimulus, except it's a stimulus that results in amazing long-term technological advances.

      January 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Jean

      Not only is the money an economic stimulus, but the ideas and products that come out of NASA and space-related research are life-saving and world-changing. It's not all just TANG.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  22. bewhiskered

    He came up with this idea at the debate
    Completely ridiculous at any rate
    Crazy as a loon
    Newt's base on the moon
    He wants to make it the 51st state.

    January 29, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  23. Michael Buck

    The Lunar Colony is to be used as a military base since these candidates love the War Machine. Send them to a lunatic colony on the dark side of the moon (No offense to PF)

    January 29, 2012 at 3:21 am |
  24. donquijote56

    Of course NASA types will support any program which throws money their way. The truth is they have done and can continue to do good science without the necessity and associated high cost of manned space flights. True, manned space exploration ignites the imagination, but so does doing drugs, it does not follow that it is the best way of accomplishing the goal. They can accomplish most genuine scientific goals and also advanced technology by using, for example, robots at a much, much lower cost. They can better motivate future generations by doing good science rather than playing rocket-man by building a rocket the essentially just goes around the corner when compared to the enormity of our galaxy, much less the universe. The time will come when we can escape the confines of our solar system. In the meantime we can tackle more pressing and doable objectives that can be just as inspiring and will actually contribute more effectively to the advancement of knowledge and technology.

    January 29, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • doughuts

      Yes, the robotic probes do great science. However, Joe Taxpayer doesn't give a crap about them. He wants to see astronauts. Timmy, the 9-year-old who likes science class is going to be much more inspired to go on and do great things by Bob the Astronaut than by SpaceProbe XIV.

      Also, if SpaceProbe XIV's main communications dish happens to jam half-way open (a al Galileo), it can't get fixed. Bob could go out and fix it.

      January 30, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  25. mark

    THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM SHOULD STILL BE FLYING... AMERICA AND POLITICS HAVE BECOME STUPID... NASA WILL NEVER DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN STUDIES EVER AGAIN... GOD SPEED CHINA! MANKIND NEEDS YOU NOW.....

    January 29, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • Ayesha

      Ah yes, they did mention that, not sure how I emssid it:The bearings, slip rings for power, liquid metal seals, and counter-rotating flywheel would be an engineering challenge.The article also mentioned both using the ISS as a testing/staging platform as well as strapping a giant rocket engine on the International Space Station (ISS) , so I'm not sure what the actual play was proposing.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  26. M2

    I am confused... there is already a NASA program developing and building a vehicle for deep space exploration (i.e. trips to the moon, mars, etc.) It is the Orion project and they are hoping for test flights in 2014.

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/nov/HQ_11-376_EFT.html

    January 29, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Ian

      No sane politician would support the Orion project. You cannot launch it from the surface; it must be launched from space. Do you even no how it flys? It uses H-bombs (no joke) to propel itself at exponentially increasing speeds.

      January 29, 2012 at 9:19 am |
      • David

        Wrong Orion, dude. Google Multipurpose Crew Vehicle. We are building it. We need a rocket.

        January 29, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • doughuts

      At the monent, it exists only on paper. Without a great deal of increased funding, that is the only palce it will exist.

      January 30, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  27. LochRaven

    This is a political ploy to try and drum up support from Dems and Progressives who, as a group, are much more in favor of such an enterprise than are Repubs/social conservatives. Please, Newt...

    January 29, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  28. arale norimaki

    The story of lunar exploration started with one man – a man with a dream.

    One of these days, Alice. Bang. Zoom. Straight to the moon.

    January 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  29. TheOneRoadRunner

    I cant see spending any more money on the space program until we rebuid the manufacturing base in this country.Quite frankly I just cant see spending borrowed money on it .Way too many people without jobs .WAKEUP PEOPLE!!

    January 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      The space program requires a highly developed, very advanced manufacturing base. You couldn't ask for a better way to boost manufacturing than by expanding space exploration.

      January 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
      • Reality101

        You are exaclty correct; however, forget the lunar (or Martian) colonies – a better idea would be to build upon what we have learned with the ISS and create construction facilities in orbit. What would the orbital construction facilities build? Anything we want. Could be space vehicles, medicines, and any other fabrication that is best done in a micro-gravity environment.

        These orbital construction "colonies" should be a multi-national effort; the benefit of such cooperation would be a shared knowledge base, shared expense, and attainment of shared goals. ISS has proven that nations can work together in space – we simply need to expand that working relationship – it will save money, promote understanding and fellowship amongst all peoples of the world, and will pay-off in the long run.

        Building an orbital construction site will result in many support jobs on the ground; not just in the USA, but across the globe. While not as glamorous as building a colony on the Moon or Mars, it will not be nearly as expensive to initiate and it has the flexibility to be what we want it to be, when we want it to be – whereas with a lunar or Martian colony you are stuck with a rather rigid set of requirements, a very expensive price tag, and an ongoing much higher maintenance expense (colony support).

        January 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  30. Jim

    So, Newt, how ya gonna pay for that moon base? Raise taxes? Cut Medicare and the Military? Dismantle and confiscate the Social Security Trust Fund? Gonna be expensive, and we are already too far in debt. The man is full of such B.S, I fail to see how anyone considers him 'intelligent.'

    January 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Did you read the article? NASA's current budget is less than a half-percent of the total Federal budget. At it's peak during the Apollo project, it was never more than 4%. Even ramping NASA's budget up to 5% – 10 times its current level – would increase the total Federal budget by a paltry 4.5%. A more reasonable doubling or tripling would barely be noticed, and would still be plenty to accomplish a mission of such scope over a moderate timeline.

      January 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
      • BornYesterday

        Love how the GOP is all for government spending when it may nudge them closer to the whitehouse...

        January 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • arale norimaki

      The story of lunar exploration started with one man – a man with a dream.

      One of these days, Alice. Bang. Zoom. Straight to the moon.
      Leela: Wow! I never realized the first astronauts were so fat.

      January 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  31. Pete

    Pandering for votes until PROVEN otherwise.

    January 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Pancho

      Dear Chuck,I love your web site. I note that there is a list of all lrcitaes up to 2007 then lrcitaes month by month after that. Do you have a ocmplete list of 2007-2009?Blessings in Christ,Rowland

      April 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  32. hank

    Newt speaks out against government spending; yet he would like to spend billions on a moon base.

    January 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • DF

      In all fairness I believe he said he wanted to see it funded through the private sector, incentivized with "prizes".

      That's pretty deeply whacky - who is going to put up the venture capital for a moon base? - but at least it's philosophically consistent whackiness.

      January 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
      • MichaelH

        For private enterprise to want to establish a base or colony on the Moon would require some profitable resource for which they could make a huge profit in addition to the huge expenditure. No such resource exists. There's no there there.

        Private enterprise cannot be counted upon to run a space program.

        January 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  33. Alien encounters of the GOP kind

    There are some candidates that are talking about space and others that are taking up space. None of these nitwits understand the budgetary constraints on NASA. With our deficit we have a hard enough time getting our astronauts to Florida let alone the moon or Mars. Until we get our deficit under control and NASA gets a real budget we are not going anywhere

    January 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  34. rjmmd

    Gingrich lives in his own little world to promise he will have a colony living on the moon by the end of his eighth year in office as president. He should come down and visit us sometimes.

    Romney has likely already bet someone ten thousand dollars he will be involved in the first condo on the moon if Gingrich gets elected.

    Compared to Romney and Gingrich and similar to Obama, Santorum likely has the best interest of the average citizen at heart but lacks the experience needed to possess the mojo to carry out his intentions.

    Ron Paul may be the only candidate for the two major parties that will get us to a firm footing and no longer in the quick sand environment that exists today. Gingrich will be making plans to visit the Moon while we sink, Romney will be having lunch with Goldman Sachs while we sink. Obama is seeking a deeper debt and a deeper depth so we can magically bounce off the bottom in a quick sand pit and bring us back to the surface.

    Back when McCain was running against Bush Jr I believed in what McCain meant to do for our country and how he would do so. Of course, those corrupt within the Bush empire unraveled all chances for America's chances when McCain lost to Bush in the Republican primary. We hoped McCain would still lead the way by going independent. After McCain met with Al Gore, the opposing party's candidate, it seems Bob Dole reminded McCain who his friends wouldn't be if McCain didn't stay united behind a nucklehead.

    Perhaps Ron Paul truly cares about this country enough to go independent, if there's a way he can do so. If RP does so, he can continue to inspire voters to thinking outside the box a bureaucracy has taught us to live within. Take pause for a moment and think of how many ways we've been misled and accept what we shouldn't. We let the crime of President Kennedy's assassination pass by when we accepted the Warren Commission. We let those culpable in the 9/11 coverage get away when we accepted the 911 Commission. We didn't tally up the politicians who accepted consulting fees from special interests they were supposed to oversee in crucial congressional committees. I am ready to stop being played the fool. Are you?

    January 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  35. Reality101

    1. Social spending is about 23% of our GDP, while NASA is about .5% (half a percent).
    2. Colonies on the moon are not a good idea at this time; it would be prohibitively expensive with little return.
    3. A better idea would be to build upon what we have learned with the ISS and create construction facilities in orbit. Working construction colonies in orbit makes more sense than any kind of colony on the moon (and it would be a lot cheaper). As time goes on, such construction colonies could be in orbit anywhere – not just Earth orbit. Future exploration/mining of asteroids could provide raw materials for the construction colonies (rather than dragging it up from Earth's gravity well).
    4. Construction colonies in orbit would be a multinational effort; the benefit of such cooperation would be a shared knowledge base, shared expense, and attainment of shared goals. ISS has proven that nations can work together in space – we simply need to expand that working relationship – it will save money, promote understanding and fellowship amongst all peoples of the world, and will pay-off in the long run.
    5. What would the orbital construction facilities build? Anything we want. Could be space vehicles, medicines, and any other fabrication that is best done in a micro-gravity environment.

    Space can be a wise investment for all of humanity – if done in an intelligent manner.

    January 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • rjmmd

      Before we reach for the stars and some place no man has been before.....can we please clean out our closet of corrupt politicians? Can we chase all the lobbyists out of our Congressional hallways with pit bulls? Can we revisit legislation that reinstates protections for the consumer such as the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that worked just fine until it was repealed by a bipartisan Congress in 1999, during Clinton's last year in office. Can we revisit Exec Order No 11110 that was introduced by Kennedy just before his assassination. Johnson was too corrupt to honor Exec order No 11110 , which was repealed in 1982. There must be some way to reign in the secretive actions of the Federal Reserve System and allow Congress to audit them. There were all sorts of Depression–era constraints placed that were deregulated. For example, The SEC was a legacy of the New Deal and watchdog agency created after Wall Street pushed our economy off a cliff. SEC did six investigations into Bernie Madoff and knew as early as 2005 he was running a Ponzi scheme. Bush's second SEC chairman was dumped quick when he wanted to regulate High rollers who took excessive risks with hedge funds. Hank Paulson was CEO for Goldman-Sachs in 2004 when he pushed the SEC to ease up on lending restrictions. This paved the way for billions more of mortgage-backed securities (a third subprime) to be sold to unsuspecting investors like pension funds and insurance companies. Goldman contnued to sell questionable mortgage derivatives to unsuspecting buyers while Goldman-Sachs played smart and divested its own risks. Why didn't all this get investigated? Why didn't some...many....go to jail? What was done was a different kind of hold up than someone robbing a bank with a gun...but certainly a lot more costly to us in comparison. If you ask me what to do with the politicians who were sold out to their personal greed....please proceed with a good ole' fashioned tar and feathering and I will get back with you on what to do next.

      January 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • DF

      I'd like to see an analysis of where and when space fabrication is economically useful. It is really expensive and dangerous to get stuff up into space (and also, as folks tend to forget, to get it DOWN from space).

      The added value has to be really really high to justify the trouble. And even then you are talking pretty small scale.

      January 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • Reality101

        DF – "I'd like to see an analysis of where and when space fabrication is economically useful."
        If you build something in space you do not have to lift it out of our gravity well – a huge advantage; while true that at first all raw materials that would go into production would have to come from Earth, at some point in the future the balance of raw materials would come from much smaller gravity wells, such as asteroids.

        DF – "It is really expensive and dangerous to get stuff up into space".
        See above. Once we have the infrastructure and asteroid mining is in place, the amount of "stuff" we will need to drag out of our gravity well as a percentage of the whole will be reduced. Also, we should be able to come up with safer ways of getting payloads into orbit – this should be a multi-national team effort; the USA should not go at it alone.

        DF – "and also, as folks tend to forget, to get it DOWN from space"
        Controlled re-entry is a given. Any project such as this would need to have safeguards against un-controlled re-entry of any objects large enough to make it to the ground intact.

        DF – "The added value has to be really really high to justify the trouble. And even then you are talking pretty small scale."
        Was discovering America worth the trouble? As for scale – we are talking about a project that will start out small and scale up. The first boat builders did not make oceanliners, they made canoes, increasing their knowledge and expertise so that today we have sea-worthy vessels (please, no jokes about the Costa Concordia).

        Building an orbital construction site will result in many support jobs on the ground; not just in the USA, but across the globe. While not as glamorous as building a colony on the Moon or Mars, it will not be nearly as expensive to initiate and it has the flexibility to be what we want it to be, when we want it to be – whereas with a lunar or Martian colony you are stuck with a rather rigid set of requirements, a very expensive price tag, and an ongoing much higher maintenance expense (colony support).

        January 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Rob

      "If you build something in space you do not have to lift it out of our gravity" If you build something in space you still need to get the raw materials from earth to space. You still have to lift it. Also, bulding things that are space-worthy is difficult enough in a NASA lab, nevermind trying to do while in orbit. Having to haul all of the required machinery into space in order to do this "building" would be an added expense as well. I see no benefit to building things in space VS. building them here and sending them up (besides physical space constraints). They do, however, already perform maintenance (which requires some tooling equipment and raw materials) on satelites and the space station already so really your proposition would only be to ramp up exactly what we are doing now.

      January 29, 2012 at 1:31 am |
      • Reality101

        You are correct – it would be building upon our current experience with ISS.

        This would not be a 5, 10, or 20 year plan – we are talking about having a permanent construction colony – starting out very small, but with the goal of one day having the ability to build exploratory vehicles with no need for large heavy-lift rockets. Another benefit of such a construction colony would be fabrication of any products best done in micro-gravity; products that may be of immense benefit to humanity; can I name them? No. Just as no one could, in say 1957, name all of the products that have come into existence as a direct result of space exploration. This is an investment in the future and it would be wise for the world to make it.

        As indicated earlier, this should be a multi-national effort – that will save money, reduce the waste of duplicated development, and encourage cooperation amongst nations.

        January 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  36. Scott F

    Ron Paul had the best idea: Send the politicians to the moon on a one way ticket. The only problem is they will corrupt the martians and moonies within two weeks,

    January 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  37. Ed

    John Zarrella, come on. It's pretty clear why the GOP candidates are suddenly talking about space. The next GOP primary is where? Florida. Rockets launch from where? That's right, Florida. It's called political theatre.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • us1776

      No kidding.

      And as soon as Florida primary is over the GOP will forget all about space.

      The GOP's entire track record on space and NASA has been to kill it.

      .

      January 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • PushingBack

      We could build a colony in the space between his ears!

      January 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Apollo

      Skippy Bush tried to get a moon mission started so he could get jobs in Florida and more importantly for him, Texas. Of course it wasnt going to work, and was scrubbed when Obama came into office. This moon base nonsense is all about getting votes in Florida. Nothing more.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  38. buckbundy

    The joke is we have presidents who have law degrees (degrees in basically how to argue), deciding how science is going to evolve.
    There's nothing that qualifies president to decide what the next step in science should be, all president had to do to become president is argue he's less bad than the guy who ran against him.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Mike,Albany

      It's time to elect a physicist president. Despite all of the anti-intellectual and anti-science sentiment in this country, the fact remains that physicists, and scientists in general, are trained to solve highly complex problems, which is a skill that would be welcome in sector of government and particularly in the White House.

      January 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • DF

        95% of the problems we face are political, not technical. As a physicist, the idea of a physicist running the country gives me the heeby-jeebies.

        Maybe somebody who came up through the management ranks in a technology company, is technology- and science- literate, and knows how to solve management problems by utilizing and balancing expert opinion with time, resource, and organizational constraints.

        January 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
      • Kevin Owens

        This is one of the best comments I have seen since reading all this. My compliments.

        January 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • DRJ

        The one thing comforting about electing a scientist or engineer to that office is that science is founded in and constrained by truth with the sole goal of problem solving. This would be a novel concept in our currently corrupt system. But I am afraid that just one scientist would not be verry effective ... something like a minister finding himself in a house of disrepute.

        January 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
      • Mike,Albany

        DF: You're just showing your ignorance about what scientists do. I'm not talking about some socially inept nerd working alone in some lab somewhere. This picture does not represent the majority of scientists, who are working in universities or industry running large research labs, chairing departments, organizing large meetings, serving on review panels, and participating in interdisciplinary research centers. Most scientists, that is, have both technical and managerial skills, But unlike your technocrat, the practicing scientists also knows how to work with the numbers, build models, break a real problem down into components, and so forth. A case in point is Angela Merkel. She's a physical chemist who has done an excellent job as the Chancellor of Germany.

        January 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • Forester

        We had a technically literate president once. Was also a peanut farmer. Many regret it.

        January 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  39. Clint, Wa.

    Why GOP candidates are talking about space. Because that’s all there is between their ears SPACE, no matter or anything, just space.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  40. zoundsman

    One homeless guy to another looking starry eyed into the vast night sky: " My heart is filled with inspiration and wonder
    for the new frontiers of the Cosmos ... pass another vienna sausage, Moe."

    January 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  41. Paul

    They are talking about the "moon" because of the space program in Florida. Candidates know how to check the wind direction before giving their speech. What they should be talking about is keeping the beeches safe and protecting the ocean as the people of Fla. depend on for livihoods of tourism and fishing.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  42. TAK

    Build the colony and man it with every single member of the Tea Party. Let's see what kind of utopia they develop. With them gone from here, climate change should cease as the green house gases we get from them farting around will be gone.

    Sadly, this space program issue is a macufin. None of the Repulican candidates will commit this country's wealth or resources to any ideas propsed thus far. business won't do anything because profits are uncertain and none of these CEOs will take such a risk.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  43. JaneS

    God help us. Yet another illustration of how far off the beam the GOP's real priorities are.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  44. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    We cannot afford to fix deteriorating national infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels, etc.), and these people are hyping vaporware and pipe dreams.

    January 28, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  45. calvin

    1. WHY can't we try to fix the ECONOMY first ??
    2. WHY do we need a moon base ? What purpose is that going to serve ????
    3. Yes, keep space exploration to a point for educational purposes, but let's not go overboard. Who cares if there's water on Mars, what good will it do on this planet ?
    4. I don't get it.

    January 28, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Kevin Owens

      Trust me I’m for fixing the economy 1st. One of the biggest ways to fix it is to get rid of greed in this country. Good luck with that. lol
      2. You will be more interested in a moon base if China or some other country puts one there first. A Moon base gives us more capability not only to defend our interest on Earth, but to monitor potential threats better coming from an Asteroid belt that exist very close to here.(Between Mars and Jupiter), If you don’t believe me, Google these names. a) Ceres (The size of California, Utah, Nevada, Montana and Oregon combined) b) Pallas (Half the size of Ceres) c) Vesta (The Famous one which is the size of Texas) d) Hygeia (Slightly smaller than Vesta).

      A moon base becomes a staging area to launch deep space missions from. We already have satellites going to these asteroids, with the possibility of manned missions to diffuse any threat to us here. Frankly the fact that we are talking about a moon base is a sign of failure on our part. We landed on the moon 40 years ago. We back slid to low earth orbit because of limited thinking. We SHOULD be discussing a mars base frankly had we stayed on pace.
      3. Keep the space program for "educational purposes" you say? What good is education without Application? It becomes a waste of time.
      4. I respect your honesty and that’s something I wish we had more of when you said "I don’t get it". That takes a lot of humility to admit. The fact is, last week we had the worst solar flare that hit earth in the last 5 or 6 years. You didn’t hear a lot about that. What effects will increased radiation from these Solar Storms have on us here? What types of skin cancers? It’s already melting our poles, and causing freakish storms in our Oceans, what else?

      Everything dies..... Including our Sun. Suns can go Super Nova and when that happens it affects the entire Solar System. There is a black hole that our entire Solar System can fit inside. It was called a billion times the size of our Sun.
      An admission of blindness is acceptable and respectable; however this is no time to turn a blind eye to Space. There is way too much going on up there. Most of the arguments I have read assumes that Earth will always be here. Space exploration gives us a larger range of options for our children. Or maybe even for us. Let these men and women (NASA) do what they do best.... look out for us and our future (Now) respectfully submitted.

      January 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
      • DF

        Our sun is a well-behaved mainstream star and is not going go to supernova, ever. Any solar-induced habitation crisis will probably be climate-related, due to slowly increasing irradiance, and is at least 500 million years or so in the future.

        In terms of science - manned exploration is a very inefficient mechanism. Go count how many Nobel prizes came from manned space exploration. Compare that to how many from space science or cosmology of any kind. Now compare those to solid-state physics or molecular biology. Both the raw discovery level as well as the applied, practical benefits of the latter two dwarf anything that has come from space exploration.

        January 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • 21k

        great stuff. explain again why satellites can't be used to monitor for asteroids- why do people need to sit on the moon or mars to peer into telescopes. seems like another hubble could do that. if the sun blows up, all the planets are toast, so mars won't do us any good. deep space exploration: humans don't live thousands of years yet, so none will make it to the next inhabitable planet. we can't agree to put resources towards free solar power here on earth, how the hell are we going to afford the non-existent technology to fly at light speed?

        January 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • debriefer1965

      Glad you asked – let me explain what purpose a goal like a moon base serves. It's something to motivate people who can make a scientific or technical difference. If you're complaining about your welfare check coming late, or the amount of taxes on carried interest, it's not really directed at you. The homeless always want another hamburger, and hedge funds want another tax break, but it's not for them either.

      The dirty and politically incorrect truth is that big discoveries – the semiconductor, or the internet, are generally discovered by a small subset of the population who has interest and ability in science/engineering. A national goal like a moon base or strong military, is necessary for our great scientists and engineers to excel, to stretch beyond their ability, and in doing so provide us with new technology and new knowledge that will eventually make your life (i.e. the average Joe) easier. I believe in providing for the unfortunate, but let me ask how often a homeless McDonald cashier creates atomic power, or the internet, or advances semiconductor physics? A moon base is meant to motivate talented young scientists – guys who make the discoveries – else we all will scrape by in perpetuity.

      If you think capitalism will save us: name one large private company working on clean fusion power. Anyone? Nope, because the technology is probably too far away to make money for the CEO in his/her three-year tenure.

      Currently, everything in this society is about money and short term gain – no greater purpose. If you want your scientists to instead go to Wall Street and push around money for a living and produce nothing, by all means get rid of space exploration. Our smart guys will go into financial engineering and make you all pay for their CDO and CDS failures. How has that been working for you?

      January 29, 2012 at 4:29 am |
      • Kevin Owens

        That has to be the greatest response and explanations I have read on here. If they cant understand that, they dont want to. Helen Keller said,"the only thing worse than being blind is to have 2 good eyes and refuse to see". This conversation on here has revealed to me the problem in this country and the very reason we are 40 years behind in Space exploration. Its ok people to admit your blindness here by saying "I dont see it", but if you are blind by your own admission, please get out of the way and let progress move forward. In the end it will benefit us all.

        February 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  46. The_Mick

    Wow. Bring in the immigrants and spend money on NASA! What's the GOP's true position? Which way is the wind blowing this week?

    January 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  47. Rick

    Moon base, how silly. It seems the crazier things Gingrich says the louder the applause, I just don't get it.

    January 28, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  48. Jparker77

    If this were the other way around and Obama was making this a election issue the GOP would be accusing him of wastefull spending. The GOP has only made this a issue to pander to the voters in Flordia. If people dont understand this then they are living on another planet.

    January 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  49. Pete/Ark

    " flyyyyyyy me to th' Moooooooon a' let me........" just more song'n'dance.... let's see a budget proposal and time table that they'll stand behind....without cutting other programs or outsourcing the program to India... very entertaining to Floridians...in Arizona they'll croon a different tune.

    January 28, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  50. Dana

    Fiddling with details distracts from the real issue. Our STEM education has fallen apart. Our economy is suffering. Our political system is broken.

    But let's all focus on this tiny little part of the budget rather than face the real issues.

    January 28, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Daniel

      We DO need to focus on the big picture. But space exploration is a long-term investment in the advancement of both our nation and society as a whole. The returns in terms of spin-offs and direct knowledge easily outweigh the less than 1% of the federal budget expended on NASA.

      January 28, 2012 at 10:01 am |
      • DF

        NASA budget: $19 billion of which most is not science, and that which is, is narrowly focused.
        National Science Foundation budget: $7 billion of which almost all goes to basic research in a much wider set of fields.

        See the problem? There are finite $$$ in the discretionary federal budget. Money spent on the very expensive manned missions could be better utilized elsewhere.

        January 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  51. Michael Q

    Well that proves my point: it is not time to vote for these space cadets!

    January 28, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  52. LeRoy_Was_Here

    All them stuped rockit scientest fellers oughtter goes to work at Walm-art like ordnary Amercans! Shootin' off all them rockits into outter space! Phooey! Biggest waist o' money in the Unverse! These be the same fellers who tries to tells us that people came from monkees! Buncha Darwan ape-man monkee bizness noncents! Then they tries to tells us that the hole world be spinnin' round like a top! Rubbesh! Iff'n that was true, we 'd a all go flyin' off into outter space ourselves! Them sceintests say the world be red-hot at the middle! Noncents! I been down in caves, an' it gets COLDER, not hotter! Ain't there aint no sucha thing as ATOMS, niether! Wood is wood is wood, no matter'n how much ya chop it up! Have ya ever chopped up wood and got down to ATOMS?! HAH! Case closed!

    STOP SPENDIN' ALL ARE HARD-EARNED MONEY OUT THEIR IN OUTTER SPACE!

    [It's fun to be sarcastic, you know.]

    January 28, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Michael Q

      Thanks y'all. Needed that.

      January 28, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  53. lgny

    NASA's unmanned robotic missions to space have been tremendous boons to science and revolutionized our knowledge of the solar system.

    The man in space program is a waste of time and money. Robots do not need a constant supply of food, water, and oxygen and are far better suited for space travel. The notion of a permanent human colony on the moon makes for great speeches but will be incredibly expensive to operate for virtually no gain.

    January 28, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • Ashe

      Manned space flight brings everyones dreams to the table. I cannot imagine myself as a robot walking on Mars; but I can dream of walking on Mars, thats the difference. The technological demands of bringing that dream to fruition are much higher (with more short-term payoffs) then remote exploration. The actual ROI to our culture, tech base and economy make Manned Space Flight a crucial component. Settling for remote exploration is just that..settling.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • maglor

      In the long run, we need to find ways to set up large scale mining operations on moon and near by asteroids to bring in resources that will soon be in short supply as population in Earth grows too large. Just mere unmanned robotic probes won't be enough.

      January 28, 2012 at 9:24 am |
      • lgny

        Until there is a fundamental change in technology, the expense to ship minerals from the moon to the earth will far outstrip the value of the material. How many millions of dollars will it take to ship a few hundred pounds of ore from the moon to the earth?

        Nothing we do on the earth (except for nuclear fission/fusion) destroys the elements present. For example, there is not one bit more or less iron now than 1000 years ago. It will be dramatically cheaper to improve recycling technology and begin mining old landfills for the glass and metals we've been dumping there for years.

        What you're advocating is good politics but lousy science.

        January 28, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • eugeneg

      Why should United States spend huge sums of money to research and prepare one-time project such as landing man on an asteroid if other nations will steal/learn from it and achieve the same thing for a fraction of the cost? United States would put itself in debt only to find itself competing with other countries for resources that are provided by extra-terrestrial bodies. How can there be talk about lunar colonies or asteroid colonies if United States has sold its stake in International Space Station which is the only manned man-made installation that's currently in outer space?? I'd say, aim towards developing orbital infrastructure, such as hotels\restaurants\casinos that would attract private investment and generate new revenues and make travel from surface to orbit more available.

      January 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • Daniel

        There is indeed significant work being done in this realm. Look at Bigelow, and the inflatable habitats they have already launched, and plan to launch. Private business can indeed do a lot here, but NASA must take the lead in the next steps. Low Earth orbit is just the first step.

        January 28, 2012 at 10:06 am |
      • debriefer1965

        Sigh...yes, other nations will benefit from our efforts in space. However, the same argument can be made for any technological achievements. We could build the iPhone first, or wait for the Chinese, or the Dutch, or the Iranians to build one and then steal their ideas.

        However, the benefit is that you have built up a group of engineers that have the experience to build an iPhone. Why was it that out of all the nations, ours was also the first to build an iPad after the cat was out of the bag? Coincidence?

        Those engineers you built up during the Apollo program – they didn't just vanish. You most likely have no idea how much they have helped our nation since. Then again, if you think people are produced by HR departments, you probably don't understand what I'm talking about.

        January 29, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • Daniel

      While I completely agree about our unmanned efforts, I do not agree about the manned ones. The general public certainly shows far more enthusiasm for crewed flights, and would be more inclined to support NASA if we were not stuck in low Earth orbit. Plus, at the very least, the ISS is promoting cooperation among numerous nations, and that has benefits that an unmanned lander to Mars could never create.

      January 28, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Daniel

      IGNY; There is no real need to ship stuff from the Moon (or asteroids) to Earth. Could simply ship it to Eart orbit, or create things in situ. The ultimate goal, and it is admittedly a long-term one, is the colonization of space. Earth is the cradle of humanity; but one cannot live the cradle forever.

      January 28, 2012 at 10:00 am |
      • Reality101

        Agree with you 100%. Much cheaper to build upon what we have learned with the ISS and create construction facilities in orbit; that would allow for maximum flexibility. Working construction colonies in orbit makes more sense than any kind of colony on the moon (and it would be a lot cheaper). Future exploration/mining of asteroids could provide raw materials for the construction colonies (rather than dragging it up from Earth's gravity well). As time goes on, such construction colonies could be in orbit anywhere – not just Earth orbit...

        January 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
      • Kevin Owens

        There are many variables to orbital colonies. We forget that the Moon itself is considered a natural satellite that orbits earth. A fact which offers a multi-vectored opportunity to access all directions of the solar system from a platform that now becomes a staging ground for deeper space travel. I like your idea as well, if we could get around these anti-science sentiments and limited thinking we might even be able to do both. For those of you who keep shouting about the economy here, until you can get rid of greed and classism in this country the economy will not be able to improve. A government/nation can only prosper to same degree of depth and width of the character of the people running it.

        January 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • debriefer1965

      Manned moon missions – yes, why send humans? Maybe we will learn something about how to survive in a hostile environment. Say that climate change – man made or not – causes the surface of the earth to become relatively unlivable. Or say an asteroid hits earth and we are plunged into darkness. Or, say we end up firing all our nukes at each other and the earth becomes a wasteland.

      At such a time, you may want to know how to build an enclosed, self-sustaining colony. Yes, these things are not certainties yet, but you may want to invest now. You probably think that we can just turn development on and off like a spigot. Nope – it takes at least ten or fifteen years to train up an experienced scientist – If you don't have any in the pipeline now, your nation is already a decade behind.

      If all that happens is we learn how to keep humans alive in extreme conditions (vs robots) – well, why is this knowledge useless? Could we use it for safety in our chemical plants? Maybe develop suits that protect against the heat of the desert? Extended life support? Advance surgery by telepresence? Explore the deep oceans? Rescue missions?

      January 29, 2012 at 4:44 am |
  54. julie

    that"s where their krazie azzez need to be.........in space

    January 28, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  55. TheAnt

    I don't believe it they can't solve simple problems on Earth and they want to go into space.

    This bunch is worst than the last what is wrong with thenm?

    January 28, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Daniel

      Do you thus advocate that we surrender our lead-position in space exploration and research? Isn't exploration one of the most important aspects of a nation's long-term development? Should we let other nations take the lead?

      January 28, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • debriefer1965

      Yes, let's wait until we solve world hunger before we work on something non-food related like say steel alloy or petroleum. Well, I think hunger is still among us, so obviously we should not have worked on steel. You should be plowing the fields with chipped stone plows and harnessed cattle, what are you waiting for? Hop to it!

      January 29, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  56. MaryM

    lol, what a bunch of liars.

    January 28, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  57. JimmySD

    The GOP doesn't know the difference between science and science fiction.

    A space program might point out the fact that perhaps the entire hundred billion galaxy universe wasn't created just for their church.

    January 28, 2012 at 7:33 am |
  58. Franny

    Why are they talking about space? Because, there's so much of it between their ears. Simple.

    January 28, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • Pete/Ark

      Shame on you... I was gonna say that....

      January 28, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  59. nytw

    I guess god has not only forgiven Newt but she in now going to give him 20 or30 trillion dollars to pay off the debt and go to the moon.

    January 28, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • marc7173

      SHHHH, You have to keep stories like this quiet, Romney said supporting the moon idea was stupid and would fire Newt for mentioning it. If you make it sound like a good idea, next week Mitt will be for it, or it will be his idae all along.

      January 28, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • walt1948

      God is a He NOT a She. thankyou.

      January 28, 2012 at 9:29 am |
      • Daniel

        How do you know? Maybe God is neither.

        January 28, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  60. James Boyd

    We done went to moon,. it united humanity. We're on a planet that we are supposed to manage.When we do so well enough, we'll have the resour-money to go explore for our hobby or curiosity.We've got robots. If you Have to go to
    space , then you can just put-up the money yourself. You have not as yet graduated from Planet Earth

    January 28, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • maglor

      Resources on Earth will get scarce, and in faster rate as well as population increases and Economy improves. If people don't find ways to bring resources from space to Earth soon, we may never get off this planet.

      January 28, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  61. steward

    "Folks within NASA won’t, of course, say anything publicly about the candidates." No, actually, folks within NASA are *prevented by Federal law from saying anything that might be seen to endorse or ridicule any Federal candidate*. If you want to know how government is really working, from people who work in government, repeal the "Hatch Act" ( 5 U.S.C. § 1501 et seq.)

    January 28, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • sunman42

      Or better yet, don't repeal the Hatch Act (as amended). The least thing we need is a politicized Civil Service. Let some people actually serve the rest of the country, and be spared the idiocy of 24 x 7 demagoguery.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  62. Eviscerated

    " Why GOP candidates are talking about space " Because politicians will pander to what ever the voters want to hear in order to get elected. They are in Florida, so they will talk about the space program. DUH!

    January 28, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  63. helenecha

    NASA's scale is historical and always supported by money. Without a stable scale, the space program is probably prone to be in vain. So the leaders had better to have their brains examined before making budget cuts for NASA. Like some changes, I don't think they'll fit well to be done within over night.

    January 28, 2012 at 2:17 am |
  64. maglor

    I hope Newt somehow wins Florida and force President Obama to announce increased investments in space programs. Increased investments in space program needs to happen now if USA want to reap all the long term benefit that will come with it. It is not an exaggeration when you say future of USA will depend on the space program for many, many diverse reasons.

    January 28, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  65. oneSTARman

    The space Program was completely SQUASHED. Bush killed the X-33 or VentureStar replacement for the shuttle because it was 'Too Hard' and because it used Secret Military technology in a civilian application. After 911 – SCIENCE in AMERICA went BLACK as in DOD. There was MHD Fusion Propulsion that could get US to MARS in a WEEK at Marshall too.

    January 28, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  66. Jerry B.

    Unmanned probes like the Mars Rovers are obviously the way to go rather than sending humans at 100 times the cost. Also Mars has far more to offer than the Moon. There is a good reason we stopped going to the Moon, it's a big rock in a vacuum and could never have supported life.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  67. NoTags

    If Romney wins we won't have to spend any money to colonize the moon. Joseph Smith, the prophet of the LDS Church believed that there were people living on the moon who were approximately 6' tall, dressed like Quakers and lived to be approximately 1,000 years old.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  68. Mike

    Newt really does shoot first and ask questions later (or never). Aside from the obvious cost issues, the bulk of the technical talent that build the Apollo and Shuttle projects are baby boomers who are near retirement. With the sorry state of our public education in math and science (something the Republicans don't even believe in), where do they think the engineers will come from? Smart kids these days go into finance, law, or medicine – fields that pay the big bucks (ask Mitt) and aren't as easy to ship overseas – engineering jobs are all being outsourced to India and China or filled with foreign students working on F1 visas (indentured servitude for college graduates).

    January 28, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  69. tim12

    the space thing was started by gingrich. it was his florida pandering. some thing to get the people's mind of his non issues.s

    January 27, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  70. spudds

    I completly agree Kevin . I just dont understand how people can be so blind to the obvious

    January 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  71. spudds

    Hilikus00 is absalutly RIGHT its a no brainer to keep nasa going . people dont keep up with the dollar return only how much is spent

    January 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  72. spudds

    Im not saying that NASA is the only answer , but atleast its a place to start. We still need alot more jobs than MASA will bring . And if you bring all of our Military home what job will they have ?? At least for now they are getting a pay check

    January 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  73. spudds

    I beleave the article said thousands lost there JOB when NASA shut down. So dont it make sence those thousands would get there JOB back if NASA started up again??? are you so foolish to beleave that only people in florida work for NASA ?? People all over the united states worked for nasa . You say people need jobs but you condem the people who would get there JOB back

    January 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  74. Jackson

    Someone needs to remind Newt that no matter how many colonies he puts on the moon, it still won't get him enough delegates to win the nomination.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  75. JEFFERY

    THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT SPACE BECAUSE THEY ARE IN FLORIDA AND THEY NEED THEIR VOTE? WHAT ESLE CAN IT BE? NEXT WEEK THEY WILL MOVE ON TO WHATEVER IS POPULAR IN THE NEXT VOTING STATE!

    January 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • jparker

      Excactly. Just the other day it was all about jesus in NC

      January 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • sftommy

        and next week, or the week after, the GOP debate will be about Jesus crossing the border illegally and taking good US jobs!

        January 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  76. My name is Jose Jimenez

    Because they are pandering to the NASA folks in Florida. How dumb are you?

    newt = a low life form frequenting cold, damp, dark places
    surrounded by rocks while avoiding sunlight.
    Santorum = the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of ana l s3x.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  77. GI Joe

    I get really ticked when all the republicans quote Raygun as being the one citing "shining city on a hill" - it was stolen from JFK.

    Just like Newt and now Mitt with their hopes for further space exploration - again, JFK.

    JFK had new interstate roads already, everyone had a job already, Eisenhower hadn't put us into two UNFUNDED WARS, so we actually had the money to spend on those things.

    As long as we have homeless and unemployed veterans, not to mention all the other unemployed/underemployed, it's a no -brainer - WE CAN'T AFFORD IT UNTIL WE GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK - unless they raise taxes drastically on the wealthy.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  78. skytag

    To listen to some of these people you'd think no one in American ever invented anything before we had a space program.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  79. sftommy

    Griffin, Cernan, and company mean well, but they would spend $Tens of Billions more than necessary and we'd spend a lot more time sitting on the ground building things on earth, rather than being in space. Obama's original version of supercharging the private effort, even when stifled by this crowd, is achieving and launching for pennies on the "Old School" NASA dollar.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  80. gar

    Space exploration has provided great benefits and is a wonderful thing to the extent that we can afford it. However, the Republicans are talking about space because they lack any positive message about life here on planet Earth.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • john

      I totally agree, they can't agree on anything except each others faults. Its a sad year for politics.

      January 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  81. Dave

    I would be glad to see some of my tax dollars go towards a mission to send Mittens and the Grinch to the Moon, but it would have to be a one way trip.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  82. This might not be the time to live without a Space Program

    I watched last night’s debate. It revealed candidates who are no more prepared to lead in Space Exploration than Pres. Obama. Everyone said that NASA is expensive. 1 month in Iraq and Afghanistan is the same amount of NASA's total 50 year running budget. We have a population that is largely disinterested, until they find out that last week we had the worst solar storm hit earth in 5 years. The new types of skin cancer that will come with higher levels of radiation from these storms. The medicines that can be created in weightless environments that can help and cure many illnesses. The asteroid field that exists between Mars and Jupiter is a potential threat and needs to be monitored. Allowing other nations to conquer space (moon) will only allow us to be the strongest nation on earth while living in fear of what they have above us. We are riding with Russia to the ISS and that will get old. We have no way to service Hubble on our own. We choose war over exploration.
    Our children suffer in the sciences with no inspiration to pull them. Pres. Obama allowed Ted Kennedy to get off a death bed to help him get elected yet did nothing to save the shuttle/Orion program and jobs at the Kennedy Space Center on his watch. The Government claims to be about creating jobs and they put some of Americas leading minds out of work. Newt recommended trying to go back to the Atlas 5 Rocket (ballistic missile that began the space program) last night to try to sound knowledgeable when we already have abandoned hardware (the Aries rocket) that was shut down last year.
    A Democracy means the "rule of the people". When the people lack vision about our nation’s future, leadership in democracy is supposed to be the failsafe that helps an entire Nation to see what it needs. That’s the true meaning of “Leadership”. With all 5 of these men (Pres. Obama, Romney, Newt, Huntsman and Paul) NASA has no hope. Shame of you Bob Crippen and Cernan for selling out. We can better stand a blow if you can see it coming. That’s why we need a space program. It is because of people like this that we are 40 years behind in Space exploration. We landed on the moon 40 years ago. We should be so much farther along in exploration. All of you who say the economy matters 1st. I agree with you, I am a man that is feeling the full impact of this economy, but you do not cut something so important and yet allow our ego to keep us in wars we really don’t need. Bush sank the Economy and The Space Program with it. Cut some wars and there will be plenty of money for many things. However, your money won’t matter if there is no planet to spend it on.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Jess C

      How about the wealthy 1% kick in their fair share of taxes in addition to ending the war (that was unfunded by Bush and that we'll all be paying for years to come). How about investing in education so we have a people with the smarts to do research and the sciences, instead of cutting education? How about, if you care so much about the planet, we keep regulations in place so corporations can't dump toxins into our water and air? There's plenty to do here on Earth right NOW.

      January 28, 2012 at 10:00 am |
      • Kevin Owens

        I totally agree with you, but my question is... do you have to kill NASA to do this. We enjoy the benefits of technology right "Now". We bailed out wall street, in the name of doing some things "right here" , right "Now". However there is more to life than the "Now". We live in the "Now" even when its next year or 10 years in the future. When it gets here it will be "Now". So then sir, when is the right time? When the "Now" of 10 years arrives, will you say we must be concerned about "Now"? we cant do it yet? Do you wait until your child has to go to college (the day of) to save the money? Or do you prepare for their future (now)? The problem with this argument is you are robbing our children of a better future than we have. (Since you claim to be concerned about kids) Why not let them have all the options that science and technology can give? No one is not saying dont do all those things you mentioned. However, I am saying, cut some wall street manipulation and some wars and you will have enough money. Its a matter of priorities and the job of Government is to determine priority 1 and priority 1000. They have done a poor job of that. You speak of cutting education, however there are some teachers that are more concerned about earning a living than shaping a life. Many get in it for summers off yet demand raises but are too lazy to make real efforts to teach like the teachers of old. Money is wasted paying them as well. In the mean time enjoy all that technology has given you through science and exploration "Now". lol

        January 28, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  83. This might not be the time to live without a Space Program

    I watched last night’s debate. It revealed candidates who are no more prepared to lead in Space Exploration than Pres. Obama. Everyone said that NASA is expensive. 1 month in Iraq and Afghanistan is the same amount of NASA's total 50 year running budget. We have a population that is largely disinterested, until they find out that last week we had the worst solar storm hit earth in 5 years. The new types of skin cancer that will come with higher levels of radiation from these storms. The medicines that can be created in weightless environments that can help and cure many illnesses. The asteroid field that exists between Mars and Jupiter is a potential threat and needs to be monitored. Allowing other nations to conquer space (moon) will only allow us to be the strongest nation on earth while living in fear of what they have above us. We are riding with Russia to the ISS and that will get old. We have no way to service Hubble on our own. We choose war over exploration. Our children suffer in the sciences with no inspiration to pull them. Pres. Obama allowed Ted Kennedy to get off a death bed to help him get elected yet did nothing to save the shuttle/Orion program and jobs at the Kennedy Space Center on his watch. The Government claims to be about creating jobs and they put some of Americas leading minds out of work. Newt recommended trying to go back to the Atlas 5 Rocket (ballistic missile that began the space program) last night to try to sound knowledgeable when we already have abandoned hardware (the Aries rocket) that was shut down last year. A Democracy means the "rule of the people". When the people lack vision about our nation’s future, leadership in democracy is supposed to be the failsafe that helps an entire Nation to see what it needs. That’s the true meaning of “Leadership”. With all 5 of these men (Pres. Obama, Romney, Newt, Huntsman and Paul) NASA has no hope. Shame of you Bob Crippen and Cernan for selling out. We can better stand a blow if you can see it coming. That’s why we need a space program. It is because of people like this that we are 40 years behind in Space exploration. We landed on the moon 40 years ago. We should be so much farther along in exploration. All of you who say the economy matters 1st. I agree with you, I am a man that is feeling the full impact of this economy, but you do not cut something so important and yet allow our ego to keep us in wars we really don’t need. Bush sank the Economy and The Space Program with it. Cut some wars and there will be plenty of money for many things. However, your money won’t matter if there is no planet to spend it on.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  84. cbr

    This whole issue smacks of political rhetoric and nothing else. There is no way that the government can afford to fund the program as had been done. It is time for the private sector to step forward to work with NASA to devise a plan that will be a partnership. For people associated with the program to put the blame on the administration is way out the realm of truth. Failed missions, cost overruns, delays, etc. helped to put NASA out of business. Talk about how to make the program better and get off the blame game.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  85. cbr

    Unfortunately, no one in favor of the Space Program has talked about the delays, add costs, cost overruns, etc. We need to be upfront about costs. Funding grandiose plans can not continue. We need better leadership at NASA.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  86. TB

    I thought we were broke? I thought we needed to cut government spending?. Oh, that's right...only if it's government spending that helps the poor, homeless, hungry, jobless, etc...

    January 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • nursdoc

      can I get an amen, somebody!

      January 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Hilikus00

      Space exploration and research has had a return of $8 to every $1 spent. If you want ot look at it from a purely economical view...that is justification enough to increase funding. The problem is, the return takes a little longer to come back...usually longer than the time between election cycles. Saving $100,000,000,000 this year is retarded if it means forfeiting $800,000,000,000 a decade from now because of it. What happens next week is every bit as important long term to the country as what happens tomorrow.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Br

      Boy, you hit the nail on the head! Well said!

      January 28, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Ian

      The space program amkes up less than 1% of the federal budget. Social services make up 57% of the budget, with defense making up 25%. Get your facts straight before you shoot your mouth off.

      January 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  87. Jill

    The pre-revolution French royalty said to the poor, "Let them eat cake." Today's Republicans say, "Let them go to space." The only real space vacuum here today is that between Repubs' ears.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  88. crappy name

    Typical Republicant's, let us worry about sending a man to the moon instead of using that money to feed the millions of homeless and starving families in this country. Space exploration has done nothing for this earth except make companies that produce the parts ultra-rich. There is no reason to send people to space.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  89. n2video

    "For a while, both Bush presidents talked of getting humans back to the moon and on to Mars. Of course, that went away, as it was deemed way too costly."

    Could have been accomplished with 1/2 the money spent on two unnecessary wars.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • DV

      Right! So no more wars, no more sending people to the moon and let's concentrate on how to save the country's economy.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
      • Kevin Owens

        Totally agreed. I wish people harping on the moon would be as upset about the cost of one month in Iraq and Afghanistan equaling the amount of the total running budget of NASA for 50 years. The space program is not just about the Moon. OMG. Our sun is dying. All the signs are there. More and more solar flares and storms effecting the planet. plus some serious sized asteroids not too far from here. (Between mars and Jupiter)The medical research that takes place in a wieghtless environment. Our children are not doing so well in the sciences and math. Nothing to aspire for. This is 2012 people not 1912 where Space exploration is a myth. 40 years after the first moon landing we should be so much farther along than a mere Shuttle but because of limited thinking we have even lost that. If we listened to most people we would never have the program. When would be the right time? Lets just continue to send our children to war over oil and ego for the politicians that have businesses over there and pay crazy amounts to do that. Get the military budget under control you could save social security, healthcare, create more jobs. Do the math, 50 years of NASA vs. 1 month at war. Now, we have been at war for year. Do the math. You dont have to be smart to figure that out. Lets not even talk about national security. You dont want an enemy country controling space or getting to the moon. Then those of you who support war will all of a sudden get interested in space. Not for exploration, but for defense and killing. NASA is not the problem. Politicians, Bush, Obama, the 4 wanna be's running on the GOP ticket, Wall street, and a general lack of vision are the problems. With all the things going on up there this is no time to be blind. Specialization really is Limitation. We need options that only NASA can give. We need our scientist employed as well. We all are hurting, but not like were going to if we dont change how we think. I agree with you DV.

        January 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Kevin Owens

      100% agree with you!!! (Not DV)

      January 28, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  90. strangerq

    Explain to me why these two self proclaimed "conservatives" would like to end government programs that will help the poor and elderly citizens but dump billions into space exploration?

    ^ GOP never makes any sense.

    They are really a completely ridiculous political organization.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Fire0bama

      Space technology is critical to our national defense and security. Modern warfare depends heavily on satellite communications and other technologies. We just cannot give up our presence in space and bow to the Russian and Chinese dominance in there.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
      • poopmeister

        You get me wrong FireObama (terrible name by the way, it should be ImpeachObama if you want to get technical), I was replying the way a conservative would. I am all for space exploration. I am just wondering why a conservative would add it to their talking points during a recession? Obama was smart enough to put aside the space program and set his focus on the economy. Also, they aren't talking about satellite communitions and "other technologies", they are talking about a moon base. Come on, if anything shoot for a Mars base, there's nothing on the moon. The only reason they were endorsing Mitt is because he is rich and use to buying and dismantling companies. Maybe he will dismantle the space program and use a shuttle for his own private jet to get to his new moon base so that he can live happily ever after with Mr. Bigglesworth.

        January 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
      • MisterBig

        The moon has lots of Helium-3, a clean fission fuel that can power the earth without the side effect of radioactive nuclear waste. It's such a good, profitable idea i say let private companies figure it out.

        January 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
      • Garrett

        Fire0bama – do we need a base on the moon to maintain our edge in space?

        January 30, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  91. rad666

    Because they are in Florida? America cannot even afford sending a FEDEX package across the US without borrowing money from China.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  92. Middle Class Citizen.

    While I understand and can sympathize with the difficulty of a hurting industry, this shocks me. Taking money from the government and bypassing the suffering economy, lacking educational systems, the horrid housing market, or (perhaps most importantly) A LACK OF JOBS, this is what takes the cake?! Really!?! Suffering small companies and most Americans probably won't be feeling the same way. And who will be buying these tickets to the moon?? Not your average citizen, that's who. We need change, but this kind can only come after the necessary ones are made. Is this a priority at the moment? Please, choose the smart answer. Another fail on the GOP candidates... Horrible, and just plain sad.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Ashe

      There is no waste of money when it comes to the 'Space Program'. This Program has defined America, influenced uncounted tens of thousands (still not enough) towards an education in Maths and Sciences and provided a Return-On-Investment that justifies an increased budget and clear set of goals and objectives.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • SixDegrees

      And where do you think all that money is going to be spent, exactly? Right here in the US.

      January 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  93. poopmeister

    I couldn't even read the entire article because it makes no sense. Explain to me why these two self proclaimed "conservatives" would like to end government programs that will help the poor and elderly citizens but dump billions into space exploration? Economy first you stupid idiots! Unless you want to create a 100,000 jobs that require little to no experience, take your space shuttles and stick them right up your @#$!

    January 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • cliff gridley sparta n.c.

      We ought to deport them to the moon since they live in another world already!!!

      January 28, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • SixDegrees

      And just where, exactly, do you think that those billions of dollars for space exploration will be spent? Right now, they'd be spent almost entirely in the United States. In another ten years, however, we'll have to send that money to China if we even want to boost a crappy communication satellite into low earth orbit, let alone do anything requiring heavy lift capabilities.

      January 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • Alex

        These billions are not spent in US. They are burned in space between Earth and Moon. Nobody will get a job because of it, nobody will earn anything because of it. Is not what we normally call spending, it is like if you go to bank, take millon dollars in cash and then burn it.

        January 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm |

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