back to article NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

President Trump's administration has handed down a budget for 2019 to NASA – and it effectively kills off key projects in exchange for a vague promise to go back to the Moon. For the year, America's space agency has been awarded $19.9bn, around $500m more than the previous year, albeit with significant changes of focus. The …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    "Turning off the lights and walking away from our sole outpost in space at a time when we're pushing the frontiers of exploration makes no sense."

    Indeed, a very sad day.

    Trump wants to privatize the space station, and sell it off to commercial concerns

    WTF? I still can't wrap my head around that.

    "Urban air mobility will be a common mode of transport – yes you'll have your Jetson car," he predicted.

    Ok... so forget everything else.... all is well now.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      The ISS, although very useful for a lot of things, isn't really "state of the art". It's tested a number of very good ideas, one of which is the inflatable module.

      OK - now we get to look and see what Boeing, SpaceX, and others are considering to replace the ISS. We just got a new 'heavy lift' rocket from SpaceX [still more work to do no doubt but a great start], and NASA will be shifting their fix to a LUNAR SPACE STATION, which is a hell of a lot more interesting.

      As for climate change - it's not "climate change" that's the hoax (climate changes ALL of the time, like ice ages and warming periods), it's the idea that HUMANS are causing it via CO2 "pollution", which is not only bat-guano LUDICROUS, it's CLUELESS with respect to chemistry, physics, other areas of science, common sense, and the well-known observations of solar cycles and normal climate behavior.

      Not even bothering with the [obvious] point of its IR absorption spectrum, CO2 is such a small amount of the atmosphere (0.04%) , it could be as high as 2% without a (significant) negative impacting on animal life, and an increase in its concentration stimulates plant and algae growth in order to increase its depletion rate (so it's at an equilibrium). Maybe we just do NOT need "rocket science" devoting itself to chasing the tail of climate change politics.

      /me points out that in a space station, CO2 levels will probably exceed 1% all of the time, because you need enough concentration for the scrubbers to work efficiently. You just need to keep it in the low 1% range or everybody will get headaches and become really grumpy... (my submarine experience tells me that).

      And while they're looking into a Lunar Orbit station, maybe they can work on solving the ENERGY REQUIREMENTS for a Lunar station, maybe refueling rockets for the return trip to earth with Lunar-minded materials, and so on. Wouldn't that be worthwhile? And consider fusion reactor research in space, where they can afford to take bigger risks... and have a natural vacuum to assist them.

      Developing Fusion power would eliminate the need for all of this CO2 nonsense, anyway, so it SHOULD be the focus, but it's not, because, politics. Good riddance to THAT at NASA for the next few years, at any rate.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Not what they say, what they do

        Trump's other wall has planning permission. Like most Republican leaders Trump is utterly convinced of the dangers of climate change, but doesn't want any evidence. This is why Earth monitoring satellites have been cancelled.

        A fusion reactor in space is well beyond daft. ITER is a technology demonstrator that is far too small to produce more (electrical) power than it uses to operate. It will need 50MW to get started and will produce 500MW of heat. Its core is >5000t and holds <0.5g of tritium. Catastrophic failure will cause the fuel to touch the side of the reactor and instantly cool to the point that fusion stops. We put 400g/year of tritium into things that glow. The strength required to keep the vacuum is small compared to that required to hold the magnets together.

        You will not get a license for RTGs in Earth orbit, so ITER in space would required >70,000m² of solar panels - only 5 SLS launches! The core requires 38 SLS launches and >1,400,000m² of radiators to dump the heat need 131 SLS launches. ITER requires a large mass of ancillary kit like helium extractors that will add many more launches. After you get the thing running, you then have to dismantle it, ship bits back to Earth and measure what the intense neutron flux has done to the materials.

        I have been using (effectively cancelled) block 2 SLS launches. Double for block 1 or halve for (expendable!) BFR.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Not what they say, what they do

          Like most Republican leaders Trump is utterly convinced of the dangers of climate change, but doesn't want any evidence.

          No, they are just being the best democracy money can buy.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            Re: Not what they say, what they do

            > No, they are just being the best democracy money can buy.

            Climate change is now taken as an article of faith. If you indicate any kind of disagreement, people start building bonfires to burn you with.

            At this point, fixating on watching the fire burn doesn't really make any sense any more. We know the house is on fire (or rather, you're certain of it). We're way past the time to actually do something about it. That action may be nothing more that getting your ready bag and running out of the house.

            Spending money to watch the house burn is a bit dubious at this point. Not wanting to spend that money any more is not what you think it means.

            1. onefang Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: Not what they say, what they do

              "Climate change is now taken as an article of faith. If you indicate any kind of disagreement, people start building bonfires to burn you with."

              Noooo, not bonfires, think of the CO2 output. Better to use a solar oven.

        2. jmch Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Not what they say, what they do

          "A fusion reactor in space is well beyond daft"

          Well, we're doing rather well with the one we have already :)

        3. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Not what they say, what they do

          "Like most Republican leaders Trump is utterly convinced of the dangers of climate change"

          No, you're wrong in your assumptions about Trump, and only a handful of Republo-Crats have actually swallowed the koolaid on man-made-<whiny-voice>ClimateChange</whiny-voice>

          Trump said he had an "open mind". I know that global-warming-fascist types assume that means "swallows their propaganda and asks for another" but his governance obviously says the opposite. Top 10 results in an online search confirm this.

          And why do you assume that "fusion experiments in space" mean shipping ITER there? I think your vision on what is possible may be a bit too narrow. In space, you can cross multiple proton beams without containment, as one possible research example. The biggest problem with fusion (in my opinion) is the containment. The second is the confinement. Eliminating containment problems gives you more options for researching how to do the confinement better, and a LOT of things have probably NOT been tried, and don't require "what you said" to be launched into orbit.

          Anyway, that's just ONE thing that space helps with.

          I'm also looking forward to a 2001-like space station, with multiple gravity levels for various purposes.

          But yeah you have to think out of the box for some of this stuff. being stuck in the mindset of what everyone else is doing at the moment doesn't give you a whole lot of freedom for how to do things.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "And consider fusion reactor research in space, where they can afford to take bigger risks... and have a natural vacuum to assist them."

        Your comment seemed rational up until this point, I realized you were crazy. The current research reactors are massive, and it would take a large fortune to lift one to orbit. And you need a convention power plant to fire the fusion reactor. And the issue holding back research on fusion power, isn't risk containment, but the fact that no one knows how to make them work.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Facepalm

          " The current research reactors are massive"

          when you pay people for RESEARCH, that is what you get. When you pay for RESULTS, on the other hand...

          Have you ever worked on a shoestring budget and did miraculous things with what little you have access to? I have. Every day. Think different [to borrow Apple's old slogan].

          The entire point here is NOT to drag up a bunch of equipment like you'd see on earth. A lot of potential designs [including ones that COULD work for 'impulse' style engines] have not been tried.

          Example: resonance confinement, using particle beams and resonant cavities and wire coils. Study how a travelling wave tube works. then you'll understand how this would work, too.

          You could build that in space, or launch pre-built modules that are small, for a lot less than a ginormous "research only" power plant, and not worry too much about whether it explodes or not [when you crank up the flow rate on fuel] since it"s "out in space".

          anyway, THAT is the point. you can't let earth-bound thinking limit the possibilities here.

      3. Stu Mac

        See how all the Sheeple have down voted you. SAD!

      4. John H Woods Silver badge

        "climate changes ALL of the time, like ice ages and warming periods"

        How do you know? You take it on trust from the very same scientists who are mostly convinced that we are now seeing an anthropogenic effect. If expertise is only of use to you when it agrees with your per-conceived notions, I suggest you get a job in politics.

        Even if you are right, and they are wrong, the idea that they are clueless, or that AGW is 'ludicrous' is untenable. [As is the idea that there is a giant conspiracy theory (if you've met any academics you'd know they couldn't possibly disagree in private and put on a united front in public).]

        It may, of course, possibly be the case that they have all largely convinced themselves of something that is not really correct, and that you and the minority of skeptics are right. But even if you are right, you are not *obviously* right and your belief that it is all very straightforward, and only an idiot would think otherwise, undermines your credibility rather than reinforcing it.

        I think it is also rather telling that you are cheering the demise of the few programmes that could pretty much prove that AGW is false ...

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Devil

          Been there. Done that.

          > How do you know? You take it on trust from the very same scientists

          I've lived long enough to experience it personally. Kids get excited about a cold snap or some unusually nasty weather and I get nostalgiac rather than going into a media induced panic whining about "climate change" that had to be "re-branded".

      5. Faux Science Slayer

        "Mommie, Can We Play Obombie Truth Origami" at FauxScienceSlayer (.)com

        There is NO greenhouse gas and the Alarmist/Lukewarmist debate is FAKE.

        There is NO peak oil...."Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable" at FauxScienceSlayer

        There is NO green energy...."Green Prince of Darkness"....at FSS....share Truth

        1. Rik Myslewski

          Re: "Mommie, Can We Play Obombie Truth Origami" at FauxScienceSlayer (.)com

          Not to put too fine a point on it, sir and/or madam, but you are a fact-ignoring, science-misunderstanding, thoughourly moronic idiot.

          Just trying to be objective, m’kay?

      6. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        "And consider fusion reactor research in space, where they can afford to take bigger risks... and have a natural vacuum to assist them."

        Actually, a fusion reactor in space would face an almost insurmountable problem that Earth-bound reactors solve quite easily: heat disposal.

        You see, your common or garden power station generates about twice as much heat as it does electricity and then uses a heat engine at less than 100% efficiency to convert the heat to leccy. The remaining heat then has to be disposed of. On Earth, that usually involves warming up a few buckets of water and chucking it away. In space, you'd need a closed-cycle alternative capable of shedding roughly as much heat as your reactor was delivering in electricity. Since convection and conduction are out (pesky vacuums) that leaves radiation, so we're probably talking about a space station that is "very bright in the near infrared".

        I'm not an engineer, but the problem would appear to be Quite Hard.

      7. tfb Silver badge
        Boffin

        I like your trick of sneakily moving from a paragraph on CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere (all standard troll bullshit of course) to one on CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere of a space station, as if those two things had *anything* to do with each other. Admirable, in a way, if you weren't such an evil shit.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Trump wants to privatize the space station, and sell it off to commercial concerns

      He is welcome to. After the Russians and the Eu have detached the American modules and have left them float. AFAIK they have neither life support, nor propulsion of their own.

      I am surprised the Russians have not done it already. With all the vehement russophobia promoted by the USA lately this is very long overdue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "He is welcome to. After the Russians and the Eu have detached the American modules and have left them float. AFAIK they have neither life support, nor propulsion of their own."

        Well, they are welcome too. But since NASA put in $58B, and Russia and the EU only put in $12B and $5B respectively, it would render the station pretty useless. Plus, Roscosmos (Russia) has only guaranteed funding to 2024, the same as the US. And the Russians were studying the possibility of breaking some modules off the ISS, when the ISS was defunded, and then re-using them for a new station back in 2009, because most people didn't think it was going to be funded even this long. The ISS has become the most expensive thing ever constructed.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          But since NASA put in $58B, and Russia and the EU only put in $12B and $5B respectively

          You are forgetting the fact that Russian costs are generally ~ 25% of NASA costs. So that makes Russian contribution nearly equal. While at it - in terms of numbers Canada, Japan and Eu have not contributed that much, but some of the elements they shipped are key to station operation. For example - remove Canada-Arm and you remove Space-X and all other means of resupply except Progress.

          In other words - how much who paid is totally irrelevant. What is relevant is what was bought for that money. Looking at the list of modules, it is possible to still have a fully functional station after detaching all American ones. At the same time, you cannot assemble anything working just out of the American pieces.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Eu have not contributed that much,"

            Look where even some of the US modules were built....

      2. Roj Blake Silver badge

        The ISS would make a good replacement for Trump Tower if you ask me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The ISS would make a good replacement for Trump Tower if you ask me.

          Or a decoration on top of of whatever is left Trump Tower or even better Mar et Largo. If it is deorbited correctly.

        2. Blank Reg

          I say we make it the new white house, we can tell trump he is now president of the world so he needs to be where he can keep an eye on all of it.

          Then after he's up there, along with all his accomplices, we can just ignore then, they won't last long.

          1. The Nazz Silver badge

            re blank reg

            Please, please make it an audition for President of the World then we will probably get Blair up there too.

            Simple question : What did more damage to the UK 1997-2010

            a) Global Warming (as it was thus described)

            b) Nu Labour

      3. JEDIDIAH
        Mushroom

        All of this to avoid fessing up.

        > I am surprised the Russians have not done it already. With all the vehement russophobia promoted by the USA lately this is very long overdue.

        Democrats have selective amnesia. They forgot who shuttered our manned space program and who we now have to hitch hike with in order to get to the ISS.

      4. William Higinbotham

        Trump Plasa Moontel

    3. Triggerfish

      Trump wants to privatize the space station, and sell it off to commercial concerns

      WTF? I still can't wrap my head around that.

      Think of the presidency as a hostile corporate takeover, with asset stripping.

  2. ridley

    We don't need no education

    "The agency's department of education, which inspires kids into science and technology careers, will be eliminated."

    FFS, I remember as a 7 or 8 year old writing to NASA for information and them sending back a huge pack of badges, posters, info on the upcoming shuttle etc etc.

    I loved it.

    Today I teach Physics to our next generation.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: We don't need no education

      well, just to explain things better: too many federal gummint things are replicated and/or disorganized. Also, there's a general move to eliminate the Department of Education entirely, leaving education up to the states and local gummints, which is how things used to be. With education spending being the HIGHEST IN THE WORLD, and per-dollar performance some of the LOWEST, I'd say that gummint inefficiency has simply inflated the bureaucracy, and inflated the overall cost, while SIMULTANEOUSLY making things WORSE.

      Although I'd like to see more science and technology in education, a "top down from the fed" approach isn't working. THAT is why it's being dropped [and not to make kids 'do without' because they won't].

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: We don't need no education

        @ bombastic bob

        It's just possible that you have forgotten that some of the dumbest parts of the western world we find in the USA. To let those parts of the country choose what to teach their kids is just not such a good idea and that is why you need help from the "gummint", for what that is worth these days.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: We don't need no education @Lars

          Balderdash it would be easier for us all to do geometry if we change Pi and square the circle. I'm all for it. History and Biology would be easier as well with every answer being God did it, grades would be a record high.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: We don't need no education

          "To let those parts of the country choose what to teach their kids"

          This is precisely the kind of arrogant thinking I despise, when the elite decide "what is best for us".

          I have much more 'faith' in the individual people deciding for themselves what is best for their own lives.

          1. DanceMan

            Re: We don't need no education

            "I have much more 'faith' in the individual people deciding for themselves what is best for their own lives."

            Like they do in the northern territories of Pakistan where the madrassas have the children rocking back and forth while they memorize the Koran. Or in Bountiful in BC where they brainwash young women into "celestial marriage."

      2. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: We don't need no education

        Bob:

        "With education spending being the HIGHEST IN THE WORLD, and per-dollar performance some of the LOWEST,"

        With access to statistics and the ability to both read and do math, you would understand why what you say here is utter tripe. And it would also provide you with the understanding of what is *actually* wrong with the education system in the united states.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: We don't need no education

          "With access to statistics and the ability to both read and do math, you would understand why what you say here is utter tripe"

          you mean, like this?

          https://rossieronline.usc.edu/blog/u-s-education-versus-the-world-infographic/

          Although literacy rate [being carefully trained to read socialist propaganda and poetry by Maya Angeloo, heh] is good, math and science [the things that REALLY matter] are pretty poor. Per dollar, especially.

          Note I compared the money being spent to actual performance. The USA spends more money per student than any other country. Yet math+science performance are pretty BAD by comparison. I also have my doubts about the "literacy rate" comparison, not knowing how that's being scored. If you score one way, reading comprehension and composition, it would give different results than "being able to read at all" which is still a problem in a lot of places in the world.

          1. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: We don't need no education

            NASA teaching space science is not "the elite deciding", it's those with relevant experience passing on the knowledge gained from it.

            By the way what do you possibly think you are achieving by using the word "gummint" except to make yourself appear childish?

      3. phuzz Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: We don't need no education

        "With education spending being the HIGHEST IN THE WORLD"

        No. The US is actually the 56th highest in the world behind, well basically everywhere.

        "per-dollar performance some of the LOWEST"

        Well, this is a tricky one to prove either way, what's a measure of 'education performance'?. Different countries have different educational focuses, eg, some countries focus on maths skills as being more important than languages. Some countries ignore humanities, in favour of the sciences.

        Either way, the US has a slightly above average rate of secondary education, which given how little they spend is ok.

        Not great, but not terrible either, which seems a fair assessment of US education in general.

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Re: We don't need no education

          You are committing numeric fraud that would make Disraeli blush.

          You are conflating "GDP" with anything concrete.

          The real ranking is more like #5 with countries like Germany, France, and the UK spending less.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: We don't need no education

          "The US is actually the 56th highest in the world behind, well basically everywhere."

          that site lists spending per %GDP, and not actual dollar figures. Apples and oranges comparison, sorry. Lies, Damn Lies, and statistics.

      4. JEDIDIAH
        Mushroom

        Re: We don't need no education

        > eliminate the Department of Education entirely, leaving education up to the states and local gummints, which is how things used to be.

        No. It's always been like that. Creating a new ministry in DC really didn't change that. What happens at the local level in your own town still is the most relevant thing. That includes local tax measures, the local school board, and even your own PTA.

        Americans really need to be bludgeoned with a civics text book until it starts to sink in.

        The rest of you have an excuse.

      5. Esme

        Re: We don't need no education

        @Bombastic Bob Hmmn. From this side of the Pond, seems to me that if the US has a very expensive educational system and yet gets poor results therefrom, that surely argues against having a privately run educational system, as companies inevitably charge as much as they possibly can for whatever service they're providing, in order to enrich shareholders. Whereas government is supposed to act in the best interests of ALL the citizens it represents, not just the wealthy few. (although given the US voting system is so open to abuse by wealthy organisations, I guess one could argue slightly the other way, but so far as I can tell the states individually have the same problem as the US as a whole, there..)

        Still not seeing what your problem with the notion of human-created climate change is, Bob. Year on year, more data supports that we're having a warming effect on the climate, putting more energy into the system, and thus helping to drive more extreme weather events. One can work out the average amount of heat generated by (or on behalf of) each human on the planet, and as our population increases unless the power/heat generated goes down, the overall effect is to add heat to the planet, affecting our climate and weather. then there's the effect of gaseous pollutants, changes in albedo due to land use, etc. ..

        Given that there were just 3,000 million people on the planet when I was born, and there's now more than that number of extra people on the planet, and that the rate of urbanisation has increased even faster, it just doesn't seem credible that there's be NO effect on weather/climate, Bob, which is the stance that you appear to be taking. And as someone not directly involved in the field (but with degree-level education), I have to apply Occam's Razor - if the bulk of scientists doing climate science say that human activities are causing effects on the climate that would not otherwise have happened, then the bulk are probably right, because so many capable minds have looked at the evidence, done the mathematics, checked, re-checked and come to the same conclusion.

        Heck, I've had a turn-around in my own thinking about the size of population we might be able to feed thanks to a paper on urban farming that I've seen recently. To my extreme surprise, it does indeed look like technically we could feed far more folk than I'd thought. Whether or not we'll have the political will or let factionalism overcome simple humanity and do so or not is another matter, but technically, I can see that we're not necessarily as doomed on the feeding folk front as I had thought - because I've seen compelling evidence to the contrary.

        Still not seeing compelling evidence against human-created climate change, though, Bob...

        1. tfb Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: We don't need no education

          One can work out the average amount of heat generated by (or on behalf of) each human on the planet, and as our population increases unless the power/heat generated goes down, the overall effect is to add heat to the planet, affecting our climate and weather. then there's the effect of gaseous pollutants, changes in albedo due to land use, etc.

          It's important to understand that this is not the mechanism for global warming as it's currently meant. It is not the case that the system is warming mostly because we are generating a lot of power (but see below). Rather, the warming we are worried about is because we're doing things (mostly dumping a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere) which alter the way the power the Sun pours onto the Earth (over 1kW/m^2 at the top of the atmosphere) gets absorbed and reradiated by altering the opacity of the atmosphere at different frequencies. This has the effect of altering the average temperature of the surface somewhat. This is actually a fairly easy mechanism to understand in a naive-physicist way, although to understand it (and all the related mechanisms) well enough to get good numerical answers out becomes extremely complicated. So global warming is not to do with human power output heating the system: it's to do with human pollution generation (that pollution, of course, being a result of one kind of power generation) fucking with the system.

          This complexity in the details is the reason we need Earth-observation satellites, of course: they tell us what is actually happening and we can compare that with what we predict should be happening. Anyone who actually had doubts about the mechanisms and the predictions would, of course, support such satellites since their data would help prove the doubts correct. People who want to stop flying the satellites are doing so for some other reason: I won't speculate on what that reason is here, but there are a number of options, none of them good.

          As an aside: there is a long-term problem with human power generation as well. This has gone up by over 2.3%/year since the 17th century: it is increasing approximately exponentially in other words. If this is extrapolated then we do run into problems: in about 400 years we would be using the entire amount of the Sun's power that hits the Earth for instance. In about 450 years (assuming we find some other source of power: nuclear fusion perhaps) we would boil the oceans. This is a different kind of global warming, and it's not a short-term problem, but it does show that there are fairly hard limits to this increase in human power generation, however we generate that power which we will hit in due course.

    2. malle-herbert Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: We don't need no education

      Yes you do, You've just used a double negative !

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: We don't need no education

      Yes, it's exactly people like you they have to stop... it will be far easier later to assert the Earth is flat and was created 6,000 years ago.

      "Ignorance is strength"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We don't need no education

      Today I teach Physics to our next generation.

      This is not needed for real estate speculation and swapping Slavic trophy wives every few decades. So there is no reason to fund it.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: We don't need no education

        >> Today I teach Physics to our next generation.

        >

        > This is not needed for real estate speculation and swapping Slavic trophy wives every few decades. So there is no reason to fund it.

        Physics is very handy for teaching genuine, practical, repeatable science. You can do real science, on your own, in the class room. It makes you far less prone to being vulnerable to every flim-flam man that comes along. This drives "science groupies" nuts though.

        REAL civil engineering is very relevant to real estate.

        Numeracy is also very important in business.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: We don't need no education

          > It makes you far less prone to being vulnerable to every flim-flam man that comes along.

          That is why Trump and the Republicans want to eliminate this, they are the flim-flam men.

    5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: We don't need no education

      Today I teach Physics to our next generation.

      Which is exactly why these extremists recruiting videos need to be taken down.

      The next generation should be taught to believe whatever their local pastor and Koch brothers tell them - not this fancy pants thinking business

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: We don't need no education

        > The next generation should be taught to believe whatever their local pastor and Koch brothers tell them - not this fancy pants thinking business

        The fun thing about high school level physics is that you can do it yourself. You can't do that with "climate science".

        1. tfb Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: We don't need no education

          The fun thing about high school level physics is that you can do it yourself. You can't do that with "climate science".

          Actually it's not that hard to construct trivialised mathematical models of the atmosphere and, you know, do the maths to understand what happens as the opacity of the atmosphere changes at different wavelengths. You need to be mathematically literate in the way any competent physicist is (ie comfortable with differential equations, black-body spectra &c).

          These models are, of course, far too simple to give you numerically-decent results, but they let you see what the mechanism is, to first order anyway.

    6. The Nazz Silver badge

      Re: We don't need no education

      Have you thought of using the Internet as a resource? Some wonderful physicsy things on there. Simultaneous, almost real time, landings of rocket boosters for example. Much, much better than badges. Or badgers.

      Now, if only Space X and the like could schedule their launches in the correct 39 weeks of the year, less inset days of course, then it's all good.

      ps for the record, i managed to get A level physics without so much as a badge.

    7. SerPercival

      Re: We don't need no education

      Yeah, man! I wrote NASA when I was a kid right after the Viking landings and got posters, booklets and other great stuff. For a kid from a little town in the middle of nowhere, it was the coolest thing in the world. I still have the posters.

      Everything these clowns do just sucks. :(

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Len Goddard

    I really hate that man

    I suppose if you elect a moron you must expect more than usual political stupidity.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: I really hate that man

      H.L Mencken has been proved spectacularly right. If you don't know what I'm on about, look here:

      https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/h_l_mencken

      What you're looking for is in the middle of the first row.

      1. beast666

        Re: I really hate that man

        I want to watch the gorilla channel.

      2. Oengus Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I really hate that man

        https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/h_l_mencken

        I would have thought that the number 1 of his top 10 quotes would apply. I almost fell off my chair laughing when I read it...

      3. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: I really hate that man

        To my mind, this sums it up

        https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/h_l_mencken_137239

        Not just in the quality of politicians we have but much of the what the general public has lost.

    2. beast666

      Re: I really hate that man

      Whilst you merely display the politics of envy. Sad!

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "I suppose if you elect a moron you must expect more than usual political stupidity."

      Not to mention the severe personality disorder.

      But don't worry.

      2025 is a long time from now and his chances of lasting into a second term aren't looking too good.

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: I really hate that man

      Let's not forget that he has the Republican party behind him, Ted Cruz has been very vocal for such a change to NASA.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: I really hate that man

        > Let's not forget that he has the Republican party behind him, Ted Cruz has been very vocal for such a change to NASA.

        That's quite a bit of spin there.

        Ted's position on the matter is that we shouldn't toss the thing after we've spent a ton of money on it. If it's still useful, we should still keep using it.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: I really hate that man

          "That's quite a bit of spin there."

          No spin at all, have a listen to Cruz here. It's quite obvious what he wants to change and how the change corresponds to his aims.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peL7Qecg3qQ

          And for GOP science guys, try this:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPgZfhnCAdI

    5. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: I really hate that man

      I suppose if you elect a moron you must expect more than usual political stupidity.

      I think you might be putting the cart before the horse.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

    I feel bad for the people at NASA, their budget has been either shrinking or flat for years and every administration jerks them around by wasting a good portion of it by throwing away long-term projects.

    Clinton threw away the Moon program (that barely even existed), Bush threw away the Mars program (Clinton gave one speech and that was about it), then Obama threw away the Moon program (catastrophe that it was), now Trump has thrown away another Mars program (which was actually defined but spent most of the money on boondoggles for members of Congress, which Trump's budget continues anyway). Now we have another Moon program that's ill defined, already demonstrated to be ineffective (the Moon isn't the great stopping point it's claimed to be), and ill funded.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

      There's also been a fair amount of duplication and waste. So CLARREO was one that interested me. Objective was to lift a spectrometer to the ISS and measure energy in the 350-2300nm region. Climate-relevant bit would be much narrower, ie CO2's emission bands, which OCO-2 has been measuring. CERES and VIIRS do much the same thing, as do other instruments from ESA & JAXA. CLARREO was also only due to operate for 1 year, which isn't much data to try and determine any climate trends as they're over a much longer timescale.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

        JE suggested "...lift a spectrometer to the ISS and measure energy in the 350-2300nm region."

        Hasn't anyone ever launched an IR-to-visible Remote Sensing satellite before?

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

          Hasn't anyone ever launched an IR-to-visible Remote Sensing satellite before?

          Yup. But this is politics. So NASA's overall budget gets increased, but the headline focuses on climate because that's highly political. Especially if views diverge from the consensus. It happened when 'Trump' cancelled the launch of the last NPOESS spare, and the media overlooked that it was a '60s vintage satellite. And it's modern replacement, JPSS-1/NOAA-20 launched about a week later. And the last Delta mission launched ICESAT which obsoletes NPOESS. So observations are covered.

          My take on this is the Trump government is looking more closely at duplication and waste, so should both NOAA and NASA be doing Earth observation? Or on the waste side, how Lockheed managed to charge $100m+ (I think) to store a spare satellite. And then proposed to charge millions more to get it flight ready. But government pork has always been rich and fatty.. The ongoing audit of the DoD is a case study for that.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

            Trump government is looking more closely at duplication and waste

            And so is boosting the SLS - a program that has managed to overcome the immense technical challenge of building a rocket in every congressional district int he country.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

              I think the ESA has similar problems. But the neat thing about SLS, Falcon Heavy and Bezos' biggun is more competition and opportunities to launch larger payloads. Which should theoretically reduce cost, and should also mean opportunities for multi-instrument satellites from different research groups. The market for single-operator large satellities is pretty limited after all, at least in the civil space.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

      Presidents don't want to commit the funds to really make a manned mission to the Moon happen, let alone Mars. So it is easier to move the goalposts by shifting from the previous president's goal to the other, which resets everything and doesn't require a lot of funds.

      But it still lets you give a speech about going there, and in their head all these presidents think they sound like JFK when they give that speech. Trump will not doubt claim "people are saying it is the greatest speech ever delivered by any president", because the voices in his head will tell him so.

      I don't have a lot of faith in Musk's ability to land a manned mission on Mars, but at the rate NASA is going some private enterprise will get there first.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

        Presidents don't want to commit the funds to really make a manned mission to the Moon happen

        Maybe Trump wants to go to the Moon because someone told him that people have played golf there?

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Moon? Mars? Moon! Mars!

        > Trump will not doubt claim "people are saying it is the greatest speech ever delivered by any president", because the voices in his head will tell him so.

        His cabinet will tell him so, their jobs depend on it.

  6. Adalat

    So if a Chinese company made an offer for the US share of ISS ...?

  7. Brian Miller

    Privatize the whole thing

    Look, NASA was great once, but we've just launched a car into space, like Heavy Metal just became real life. Just regulate private companies, and let them do their jobs. Funding then defunding then funding the same program again is just waste.

    Let the private companies go for it.

    1. Oliver Mayes

      Re: Privatize the whole thing

      Science should not be profit driven.

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Privatize the whole thing

        "Science should not be profit driven."

        Eh? Back in the industrialised world:

        "Profit is science driven"

  8. Mayday Silver badge
    Pirate

    Outer Space Treaty?

    "Lightfoot predicted that by 2030, NASA will have collected samples of Martian soil, and will be working on ways to bring them back to Earth, while exploring the Moon for valuable minerals."

    Exploring for valuable minerals - does this violate the Outer Space Treaty? Particularly with regards to "benefit of all countries"?

    I would think that looking for "valuable minerals" with a view to exploiting them does not benefit "all countries"

    But that's ok, if your country is the one that gets said minerals first, right?

    Article I:

    http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/outer_space/text

    1. beast666

      Re: Outer Space Treaty?

      Quit with the postmodern neomarxist twaddle and grow up some.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Outer Space Treaty?

      Call me naive, but exactly *which* minerals are so expensive and useful that it's worth dragging them out of one gravity well and into another, rather than digging them up at home?

      Maybe it's worth finding iron asteroids, zone purifying them, and injecting air to blow them into a nice big bubble: either live in 'em or let the air out, plug the gap, and send 'em towards earth: get the volume right and they'd float like huge balloons at the altitude of your choice. Refined metals with all the nasty stuff done where the heat and physical pollutants don't affect this rather fragile planet.

      Or get out to Saturn's rings and start lobbing chunks of ice at Mars; a few icebergs a day and you'd soon have an atmosphere worth thinking about breathing.

      But commercial minerals on the moon that are valuable on Earth, rather than on the moon? Unlikely, I fear.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Outer Space Treaty?

        Other than He3 I can't imagine what there is on the Moon that would be worth anything to anyone. There hasn't been enough volcanic activity to bring the heavy stuff out of the core (assuming there IS any heavy stuff in the Moon's core...) near the surface where it is reachable.

        Maybe someone will find an asteroid that has some big seams of gold in it, but if they brought enough of it back to Earth the price of gold would tank - modulo occasional bubbles the price tends to track pretty closely with the cost of production.

        If you could find enough gold that divided by the huge cost of mining it in space and bringing it back to Earth the production cost was far less all you'll do is drop the price of gold - might be worth it as a way of making money by shorting gold I suppose.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Call me naive, but exactly *which* minerals are so expensive and useful

        that it's worth dragging them out of one gravity well and into another, rather than digging them up at home?"

        Indeed.

        Musk view on Mars mining was it's uneconomic even if the product was tonne pallets of Crack.

        I think he's a bit pessimistic on this. It might be possible to compete for some products if the transport costs were dirt cheap.

        The only thing I could come up with for this to work was a solar driven mass driver (only works during the day, so no storage needed) with on orbit collection by a string of solar sail transports.

        It would have to be the full refined product, not just raw ore.

        And frankly it still sounded hare brained even by my standards.

      3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: Outer Space Treaty?

        Maybe it's worth finding iron asteroids, zone purifying them, and injecting air to blow them into a nice big bubble: either live in 'em or let the air out, plug the gap, and send 'em towards earth: get the volume right and they'd float like huge balloons at the altitude of your choice.

        Let the air out? In space? So they contain a vacuum? Then send them to the Earth? Care to explain how an iron sphere, containing nothing lighter than air but made of something much heavier than air, could float in the atmosphere?

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Iron balloons

          Same way a balloon made from heavier than air materials is able to float if the overall density of balloon inflated with light-than-air gases is lower than the density of air. Same way a ship made from heavier than water materials is able to float if its density calculated based on its displacement is lower than the density of water. I mean, you do realize that a vacuum is "lighter than air" by definition, right? Lighter than helium or hydrogen.

          Mythbusters made a balloon out of lead, and it wasn't even a vacuum inside. An iron balloon with a vacuum inside would float very well indeed - though it would have to be enormous if you wanted to have people living in it instead of just floating around for people to call in UFO reports on. And even if you did, what would be the point? Creating a luxury accommodation that blocks the sun from Trump Tower?

          I fail to see why you'd need to go to the asteroids to get the iron to construct these balloons, either. Why not bring it from the Earth? Yeah there's a gravity well but that's a lot of work mining it out of asteroids so I find it hard to believe launching it from Earth would be more costly. And why iron, wouldn't a lighter metal like aluminum or titanium work better for this? After all, who wants a rusty balloon?

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Blue Balls vs Red Balls

            I fail to see why you'd need to go to the asteroids to get the iron to construct these balloons, either. Why not bring it from the Earth? Yeah there's a gravity well but that's a lot of work mining it out of asteroids so I find it hard to believe launching it from Earth would be more costly. And why iron, wouldn't a lighter metal like aluminum or titanium work better for this? After all, who wants a rusty balloon?

            It's a cost issue. Iron is dense, so there'd be the cost per kg to lift that out of our gravity well. Then there's any additional processing to turn iron into something useful, ie girders to make habitats, spaceships or IronBru. Launching ingots would be a lot easier than launching beams or trusses on account of the volume restrictions in the pointy end of launchers. So we'd need some form of space foundry to turn raw materials into useful components. And if we'd have to lift that, it'd start making more sense to get the raw materials locally.

            And if we're doing that, other costs apply. So smelting metal is energy intensive on Earth, but 'free' in orbit or on the Moon using solar. Same with mining. There'd be upfront costs to build and launch robo-miners, but then 'free' if they can be fully automated. Sending product back to Earth would seem uneconomic though, unless zero-g forging allows cheaper alloys or composites that would be more expensive to create on Earth. But something I've been pondering.. Would space-mined material be irradiated due to being bathed in solar and cosmic radiation?

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: Blue Balls vs Red Balls

              I should have explained more clearly: either you live in 'em *in the asteroid belt* or you turn them into balloons and send them back to earth as refined metals.

              The first is probably the more useful, in the short term - the second, well, one day I'll get an envelope to do the sums on: you'd need to remove a chunk of energy to slow the bubble relative to the earth, but I suspect ablative braking is probably the only way to go.

              But if you can do the dirty smelly energy intensive work somewhere where there's lots of free energy (*big* mirror with the meltee at the focus?) rather than on this green and pleasant land, and do it cheaper, it's probably a good thing to do.

            2. DougS Silver badge

              Re: Blue Balls vs Red Balls

              But as was already pointed out, you can't just drop the iron balls from orbit and expect they will float lazily down their desired altitude. Instead they'd crash down like an iron asteroid because they'd be move too fast for the buoyancy to take effect. So you'd need rockets to slow their descent, shielding to protect them from re-entry, etc.

              Meanwhile if you build an iron balloon on the surface you just need to keep it weighted down while under construction, then remove the weights and let it float up to its design altitude when you're done. Unless there is something about this scheme that requires construction in orbit, it seems a lot simpler to do it all on the ground and launch nothing into space. Oh sure you won't be able to attain a vacuum inside as nice as the one you'd be able to attain in space, but what's a fraction of a percent of atmosphere between friends? Add another percent to its diameter and call it good.

              I'm curious where the guy who originally posted this idea got it from. The idea of mining asteroids to create floating iron balloons in Earth's atmosphere is only slightly less crazy if you remove the "mining asteroids" part of it...

              1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

                Re: Blue Balls vs Red Balls

                Doug - did you miss my post above?

                There is no concept of building balloons on earth and floating them there for any reason; the only reason to make a balloon is to make it easy to move megaton chunks of processed metals around once you've got them here.

                And yes, I know they have to come down (speed up, I think?) from an asteroids orbital velocity to Earth's - that's why I'm thinking about aero-braking. There's no sane way of decelerating it chemically, though if you don't care too much about timescale then a solar sail approach might be helpful. I dunno - I build catflaps, not missiles (except on the SPB :)

                The idea I think I stole from an SF writer whose name I forget; he parked one over Washington DC to focus the minds of the lawmakers...

                1. tfb Silver badge

                  Re: Blue Balls vs Red Balls

                  I am not sure you appreciate the magnitude of the problem. If this balloon is initially stationary relative to Earth, and it just falls downwards, then it hits the top of the atmosphere at about 11km/s.

                  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

                    Re: Blue Balls vs Red Balls

                    That does rather depend *where* it is when it's stationary to earth...

                    A quick google indicates an averageish orbital velocity for something in the asteroid belt is around 25km/s; the earth moves around 30km/s, so from somewhere we're actually going to have to accelerate the damn things to get them moving inwards. Energy is cheap, but reaction mass might be hard to come by...

                    I *did* say this wasn't all my idea...

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Iron balloons

            > An iron balloon with a vacuum inside would float very well indeed

            Not at all. It would be crushed in a second. Take one 10 gallon metal gas can, or even a completely empty paint tin, boil some water in it for the steam to displace the air and seal the lid. When the steam condenses the tin implodes. The tin has a several magnitudes more strength to volume ratio than a steel balloon with sufficient lift.

            If you fill it with hydrogen to eliminate the pressure problem then the hydrogen will simply leak through the iron and also make it brittle.

            https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=RhGeBAAAQBAJ&pg=PT85&lpg=PT85&dq=copper+airship&source=bl&ots=1MwoSlV2lp&sig=C2UAgBSCxngjCtz7wry9aKnGLtE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjuo9Ce1KjZAhUGl5QKHYGuACIQ6AEIXDAM#v=onepage&q=copper%20airship&f=false

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Outer Space Treaty?

          Care to explain how an iron sphere, ...could float in the atmosphere?

          It would hang in the air in exactly the same way bricks don't

        3. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Outer Space Treaty?

          "Let the air out? In space? So they contain a vacuum? Then send them to the Earth? Care to explain how an iron sphere, containing nothing lighter than air but made of something much heavier than air, could float in the atmosphere?"

          Well, that went down like a lead balloon.

          I noticed someone else explaining hot air balloons, so I want bother.

      4. tfb Silver badge

        Re: Outer Space Treaty?

        Right, and these balloons would just float down from space into the atmosphere the way, say returning spacecraft do. None of this inconvenient 'falling down the gravity well' rubbish.

  9. beast666

    Across realtime...

    The GEOTUS has vision.

    A truly great man.

  10. armyknife

    Pig Ignorant

    It's as if the expression was tailor made for him.

  11. Palpy

    Tee hee!

    Coming NOW: "Buy tickets now for Trump Shuttle, destination Trump Towers in SPAAAACE! And tha MOOOON!"

    Coming tomorrow: "Oh, sorry, everything went bankrupt after all. Should have guessed -- Trump Airlines and Trump casinos redux."

    Coming the day after: "Oh, and so very sorry -- entire USA bankrupt now too. But Trump loves debt, so he did the right thing with debt-based financing of the nation. Yay Trump!"

    But more seriously, Congress needs to take a firm hand. Selling off national infrastructure, public lands, serious scientific and technological research, and cashing out the future for a pittance payable now is very bad long-term strategy. Hopefully wiser heads will prevail when it comes to actual legislation.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Tee hee!

      Transferring public assets to their rich friends (JOBS!) is their strategy.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Send Trump to the Moon

    100% guaranteed to find NONE of the pesky Climate Change stuff there.

    Hold your breath Donny!

  13. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Predicting the past

    "Lightfoot predicted that by 2030, NASA will have collected samples of Martian soil, and will be working on ways to bring them back to Earth..."

    That's been true for decades. NASA's 1970s-era Viking landers have collected samples of Martian soil, and NASA is still thinking about how to bring such Mars samples back to Earth.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Predicting the past

      Put a rail-gun on Mars, shoot the sample into orbit. If we can't use balloons we might as well make the best of it...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Predicting the past

        Drop a nuke on Mars.

        Some of the ejecta will have the correct dV to end up captured by Earth, then you just need to wait a billion years and comb the antarctic for the meteorites

  14. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...by 2030, we'll have flying cars, too"

    I just need a cartridge of Flying Car Paste™ for my 3D Printer, so I'll just print my long-overdue Flying Car.

    Now excuse me, there's a flash deal for extra large 3D Printer cartridges of 100MW Fusion Reactor (with optional Truck To Carry It) Paste™, and I don't want to miss it.

    Hmmm... I might order some Strong A.I. Paste™ too; I'm really tired of waiting for the A.I. factory to deliver.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "...by 2030, we'll have flying cars, too"

      Sure, very rich people will have them, and you'll have to be very quick to move away when they decide to land, or they'll crush you at will....

      1. tfb Silver badge

        Re: "...by 2030, we'll have flying cars, too"

        Very rich people have them now: they're called 'helicopters'.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We choose to go to the Moon

    We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because my approval rating is in the poo.

    RIP great leaders of days past.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: We choose to go to the Moon

      "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things"

      I've always wondered what those "other things" are, but never been arsed enough to actually look it up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We choose to go to the Moon

        Pssst: Miss Monroe!

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: We choose to go to the Moon

          "Pssst: Miss Monroe!"

          JFK couldn't do her alone, he had to have his brother and a few mafia guys help him out as well.

      2. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: We choose to go to the Moon

        Here are the other things:

        "But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

        "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

        1. onefang Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: We choose to go to the Moon

          "Here are the other things:"

          Thanks, have a beer, or drinkable liquid of your choice.

          "Why does Rice play Texas?"

          The edible seeds of a popular grass plays Texas hold'em? That's beyond hard, that's dawn near impossible.

          1. onefang Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: We choose to go to the Moon

            "that's dawn near impossible."

            Damn typoes, that's "damn", dammit!

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: We choose to go to the Moon

        "I've always wondered what those "other things" are,"

        Same here. That speech always sound poorly worded to me. It had a good result and the funding was there for the dream, but the speech itself did sound quite right.

  16. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I don't think anyone thinks it's a hoax...

    ...today's White House – which reckons climate change is a hoax – wants NASA to look outward...

    ...but it sure looks like a scam....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I don't think anyone thinks it's a hoax...

      Climate change? What climate change? Hey, look! Shiny moon! Shiny!

      Having said that, as someone else mentioned, there is significant duplication across Govt Agencies and at least some of what has been defunded is really in the purview of, for example, NOAA.

  17. David Roberts Silver badge

    Valuable minerals?

    Anyone know which minerals will justify the energy costs of lunar mining and transport?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Valuable minerals?

      Kryptonite.

      Unobtanium.

      Adamantium.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Valuable minerals?

        Trumpium.

      2. Roger Greenwood

        Re: Valuable minerals?

        but those three are particularly difficult to separate from the ore (managerium)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Valuable minerals?

      Koolaidium

      Orangeinium

      Ooglestainium

      KluKluxKlanite

      KOOK for short

      1. arctic_haze Silver badge

        Re: Valuable minerals?

        Whitepowerium

        Nazium

        Cheesburgerium

    3. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Valuable minerals?

      Coal, of course....

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Valuable minerals?

        Pure Cavorite.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Valuable minerals?

          "Pure Cavorite."

          See icon!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Valuable minerals?

      Covfeteium

  18. RobertLongshaft

    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP

    Give it a rest you utter tiresome libtards. Like Brexit, YOU LOST. LOSERS. GET OVER IT.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Like Pyrrhus said...

      " If we are victorious in one more battle, we shall be utterly ruined"

    2. MrRimmerSIR!

      Huh

      "Like Brexit, YOU LOST. "

      ?

    3. wolfetone Silver badge

      "Give it a rest you utter tiresome libtards. Like Brexit, YOU LOST. LOSERS. GET OVER IT."

      Like you lost Vietnam?

      1. RobertLongshaft

        Like you lost Vietnam?

        I'm English, how did I lose Vietnam?

        But before you get on your high horse it's not like we (the British) haven;t suffered many embarrassing military defeats.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          "Like you lost Vietnam?

          I'm English, how did I lose Vietnam?"

          My sincere apologies my good fellow. It's just your rhetoric is more befitting of a gentleman from the southern states of the USA shouting 'murica than someone from the United Kingdom.

      2. tfb Silver badge

        When *did* the US last win a war? WWII?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ RobertLongshaft

      It'll be interesting to see how that works out for England.

  19. 0laf Silver badge
    Boffin

    There is probably more chance Elon Musk will achieve all these things than NASA. They are projects that are all longer than one or two election cycles so they are doomed to be cancelled change or otherwise interfered with by politicians at least once in the project lifetime.

    But sad really.

    On the surface, back to the moon and on to Mars sounds good.

    The end of the ISS is maybe inevitable. I don't know if it's getting towards the end of it's life anyway.

    Would be nice if they could build a large habitat with a life of maybe 50 or 100yr. That's maybe not even possible.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Private companies aim at profit...

      Space X can do a lot, but they will look at and will be driven by profits only, not research. How many deep space probes or research satellite private companies ever launched? You can't rely for everything on private efforts, especially in a country where "shareholder value" became a sort of religion or Amendment Zero.

      You still need long-term research and non-profit missions - which often test new technologies which may not be reliable enough for commercial use.

      And only a state-backed organization can achieve that. Get rid of that, and you say good-bye to real progress also.

      1. Brangdon

        Re: Private companies aim at profit...

        SpaceX is not driven by profit. It is driven to make humanity a multi-planetary species. However, they consider the Moon a distraction to this endeavour, and they need income to achieve their goal, so they would want someone else to pay them to go there.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old News

    Well I saw on a Russian news site 3/4 months ago that they had agreed with NASA to build the ISS's replacement to orbit the Moon and have it operational by 2025 so this just seems to be the confirmation from the US side.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ISS sale

    Certainly, the US is a major investor in the station, however, it's jointly owned with Europe, Russia, Japan, and Canada. Selling off the US stake will require complex negotiations with other partners.

    It's going to be a hard thing to sell - I mean, do you know how many miles that thing has on the clock?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Private companies can't afford (i.e. don't want to) pay the bill for mineral exploration outside the Earth so what's the next available option? Ah yes, send a tax-payer funded organization to do it.

  23. Eclectic Man

    Why we (actually the USA) really went to the Moon +

    JFK had a problem in the early 60's and that was funding for military research to counter the USSR's lead in 'the space race'. The 'Reds' had the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, and the first human to orbit and return to Earth safely, demonstrating that the USSR could send an atomic weapon into space and attack anywhere on the planet. The USSR even got an artificial satellite to the Moon first too - its signals were decoded by boffins at the UK's Jodrell Bank.

    So JFK did a truly brilliant PR stunt to get the USA population to agree to a tax rise to pay for a supposedly civilian space programme to send a man to the moon, when a lot of the research and benefits would be directly usable for military use, such as spy satellites and ICBMs. And it worked. The PR was wonderful, Boorman, Anders and Lovell got back despite accidentally erasing the memory on the Apollo 8 navigation computer (fortunately they had a sextant to get a fix on their location). The USA became the pre-eminent space technology nation.

    Now, return to the Moon to try out the tech for an eventual colony on Mars, and to do some geology (only one of the Apollo astronauts to walk on the Moon was a trained geologist), does seem like a reasonable idea. It is in space with a minimal atmosphere, so has similar issues as Mars, but is close enough for a quick return in the event of a disaster. Just don't cut the increasingly essential Earth observation satellites and programmes to do it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why we (actually the USA) really went to the Moon +

      By the time US got to the Moon, ICBM and their warheads technology already changed enough to make the large, liquid-fuel missiles useless for atomic attacks - the solid-fuel (easier to store and quicker to launch) Minuteman and submarine-launched Polaris entered services in early '60s.

      Atlas and Titan were quickly converted into satellites launching missiles, and Mercury/Gemini capsules as well. They were enough to launch the heaviest satellites of the time. Actually, it looks US prioritized spy satellites over manned flights because obtaining on site intelligence in CCCP was of course far harder than obtaining it in the US. The same reason that led to U-2 and SR-71 development, and after the U-2 was downed, it became even a bigger priority.

      But US had to recover the lost aura of being the most advanced technology country - and only getting to the Moon first would have achieved it. And it's not surprise that very little of the Saturn V missile technology was reused later - it was only useful to reach the Moon, and too expensive for everything else Not surprisingly, the last three mission were soon cancelled.

      Liquid hydrogen engines were developed in parallel for the Centaur upper stage as well, and it's still in use today.

      Moon and Mars offer very different challenges. The Moon "atmosphere" is so extremely thin you can really approximate it to no atmosphere at all. Mars atmosphere is thin, but still enough dense to heat vehicles on entry, but thin enough to require specific parachutes. It also have a stronger gravity than the Moon.

  24. MunkeeJuice
    Joke

    Trump Prospecting

    Um, i wonder what Trump company will take advantage of "...Moon by the middle of the next decade and to use it to send prospecting probes down to the surface to hunt for useful minerals."

    Get the gov to foot the bill initially then private companies reap the rewards.

  25. unwarranted triumphalism

    Best thing would be to de-fund it entirely.

  26. Dan Paul

    Fools never learn

    So you have to harp on global warming again when there is no such thing and never has been. Man is no more responsible for the climate than ants are. The flawed data and the models that use it are all biased in favor of an outcome that lines the pockets of idiots and will never happen. We have been in a warming period for over 10,000 years. The global climate doesn't change because of man's actions, it takes way more energy to change it than man has ever brought to bear.

    1. unwarranted triumphalism

      Re: Fools never learn

      > energy to chabge it

      Nice try. Except that the energy to change the climate comes from the Sun (much bigger than us, who woulda thunk it) and the effects of our carbon dioxide emissions are trapping more of that energy in the atmosphere.

      2/10, disappointing, must do better.

      1. Winkypop Silver badge

        Re: Fools never learn

        2/10

        Why so generous?

    2. onefang Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Fools never learn

      "Man is no more responsible for the climate than ants are."

      Have you seen those giant ant / termite mounds in the desert, the ones bigger than a person? They are actually built with something that acts like air conditioners. Localised climate control invented by insects. The ants might not be responsible for climate change, but that's simply coz they haven't tried hard enough.

      1. tfb Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Fools never learn

        I really hope that someone is going to be able to dig out a paper that shows that, in fact, ants have a big effect on the climate. It's trivially the case that single-celled organisms do, for one thing!

      2. tfb Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Fools never learn

        And of course, ants, or at least termites, are a big deal in the climate: termites are one of the leading mechanisms by which wood gets decomposed in many areas, and are thus completely central to the carbon cycle.

  27. mrobaer
    Unhappy

    Why US?

    As an American, I have to wonder why the rest of the world places so much attention what NASA is or is not doing. There are plenty of other countries with space programs and I'm sure more will be capable soon. With climate change research in particular, that's a global ordeal. Why not have a global organization deal with it? Then so what if one country decides to defund some of their research, your global community will press on and get the answers!

    Maybe I'm just a typical joe with a narrow world view, but I really can't stand it when my country is expected to solve the world's problems and then catches hell for picking and choosing which problems to solve.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Why US?

      Other countries do study it and will go on studying it without Nasa.

      It is just a little worrying that the world's biggest producer of GHG per person doesn't believe it and cancels any funding that provides evidence of it.

      Why should China, India or Africa not ramp up their own production / person to the same level? If America can benefit from this "economic activity" why should an Indian have to miss out on a pickup truck to save the planet?

      1. mrobaer

        GHG Per Person?

        I didn't even know what GHG meant. But now that I googled it, I can see that as a nation, China produces more, followed by Mexico, THEN the US, the EU, and India. And going by your per capita, the US is ranked 14th, behind even Canada and Australia.

        I get it, that we have a responsibility to research to what end this pollution is truly changing the climate. But with all the problems my nation has, and I'm sure you can see them from afar, climate change isn't a hot topic... no pun intended.

    2. Eclectic Man

      Re: Why US?

      "With climate change research in particular, that's a global ordeal. Why not have a global organization deal with it?"

      There is one, it was called the Paris accord or agreement, and Donald trump pulled the USA out of it.

      The reason the USA gets so much attention is that it is the largest single state influencing world affairs economically, militarily and through pollution (although the PRC is fast catching up on pollution). Unfortunately the rest of the world has got rather tired at of the USA turning up at some place, claiming it is solving the problem, and leaving an even bigger mess for the rest of us to clear up. It is as much to do with that, as the USA not bothering to engage politically or diplomatically with its supposed allies. Witness the 'yo, Blair' moment at the conference when George W Bush hailed the then UK PM, Tony Blair, and they clearly had no idea what each other was planning on an urgent issue of international politics. Witness the sudden arrogance of the senior USA State Department official, just after 9/11, when being told of the history of Afghanistan, by his senior army advisor he replied "History starts today". So not interested that only Alexander the Great, Genghis Kahn and Babur had ever managed to have any control over Afghanistan as an invading power.

      Sorry for the rant, but you did kind of ask. The USA, and in particular its politicians really need to read some history books not written in the USA, rather than acting like they believe that the USA has a divine right to do whatever it likes and the rest of us exist at their discretion.

    3. tfb Silver badge

      Re: Why US?

      We are trying to deal with it globally: perhaps you've heard of the IPCC? Unfortunately the current US administration has, shall we say, an unhelpful attitude to the whole international cooperation thing.

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