How important was the successful mission to Pluto to you?

GretnaShawn

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Sep 28, 2010
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It is cheaper than the new Vikings stadium. At least something beautiful came from the Pluto mission.
 

litespeedhuskerfan

Nebraska Football Hall of Fame
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Not at all. I'd care a lot more if the USA didn't have such a large credit card balance and I felt our gov't was better run. Not an attack on blue or red people, both of them spend to much. From where I sit, this trip looks like a huge waste of money, huge.
 

TheBeav815

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That's selling it short. It's a scientific mission well beyond Pluto, it just happens that they got some great data on Pluto along the way. They'll be receiving images for over a year as they gradually receive data back.

That equipment will move out beyond our solar system and keep doing its thing.
 
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ReuniteGondwanaland

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FWIW, most people significantly overestimate NASA's budget. NASA's budget this year is 0.45% of the total budget, and the National Air and Space Administration does a lot of things other than launch rockets. It included 1/3 of our total spending on academic scientific research. Basic science research tends to pay for itself over time.

Getting our fiscal house in order is important, and everything should be on the table, but the scrutiny that NASA gets with its 0.45% of the budget seems out of scale compared to other areas of the budget that are far larger and have grown over time.
 
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mel mains

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FWIW, most people significantly overestimate NASA's budget. NASA's budget this year is 0.45% of the total budget, and the National Air and Space Administration does a lot of things other than launch rockets. It included 1/3 of our total spending on academic scientific research. Basic science research tends to pay for itself over time.

Getting our fiscal house in order is important, and everything should be on the table, but the scrutiny that NASA gets with its 0.45% of the budget seems out of scale compared to other areas of the budget that are far larger and have grown over time.
True enough. Generally speaking, if it ain't an entitlement, cutting its budget won't make a dent in the larger scheme of things.
 

bkrrrrr

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We need to make sure those Plutonians know we're monitoring their activities! They've been selling their highly enriched Plutonium all over the solar system! If the Venusians get the Bomb we're screwed.
 

SilentCommit

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Jun 19, 2013
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Pensions = 26%
Health Care = 26%
Defense Spending = 23%

These 3 items point and laugh at trivialities like education, infrastructure, and NASA. Both sides of the aisle are correct in their assertions of wasteful spending, but while they bicker the same talking points, we all lose. Hopefully they don't find life on Pluto - we'll end up like the Aztecs.
 

jflores

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Feb 3, 2004
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Pensions = 26%
Health Care = 26%
Defense Spending = 23%

These 3 items point and laugh at trivialities like education, infrastructure, and NASA. Both sides of the aisle are correct in their assertions of wasteful spending, but while they bicker the same talking points, we all lose. Hopefully they don't find life on Pluto - we'll end up like the Aztecs.
Agree 100%. But no one wants to take responsibility for Grandma, in practice. It'll be interesting to see how it all unfolds.
 

litespeedhuskerfan

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When people sit down at the kitchen table and look for ways to start cutting their monthly expenses you look at everything, including the cable and phone bill, even though they only make up 1% of your monthly finances. I don't like when people say "Such and such only accounts for (insert dollar figure here)" I've seen politicians do it a lot. Point is, no one item is going to save you all the money you're looking for, it's a collective thing. I don't know what that Pluto mission cost's, but it is my firm belief we'd be better off spending that money on our own planet. Now if we didn't carry a credit card balance of a zillion dollars, then I'd have zero issue with it, but again, from where I sit, it looks like a huge freaking waste of money to me.
 
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SilentCommit

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When people sit down at the kitchen table and look for ways to start cutting their monthly expenses you look at everything, including the cable and phone bill, even though they only make up 1% of your monthly finances. I don't like when people say "Such and such only accounts for (insert dollar figure here)" I've seen politicians do it a lot. Point is, no one item is going to save you all the money you're looking for, it's a collective thing. I don't know what that Pluto mission cost's, but it is my firm belief we'd be better off spending that money on our own planet. Now if we didn't carry a credit card balance of a zillion dollars, then I'd have zero issue with it, but again, from where I sit, it looks like a huge freaking waste of money to me.
Agree with you on budgeting - we should look at everything. If you're doing a cost/benefit analysis on space exploration, I'd humbly suggest that it's still very important.

Innovation - heart monitors, solar panels, global communications, medical research, robotics, etc. There are countless examples of innovation effects from the space program
Problem Solving for current challenges - research on the international space station, development of the Hubble telescope, etc.
Cultural Benefits - attracting new generations to scientific research, International cooperation, mutual understanding of global concerns

Where many see waste, I see incalculable benefits. Unless we find intelligent life. In that case, we're all screwed. :eek:
 
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jflores

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When people sit down at the kitchen table and look for ways to start cutting their monthly expenses you look at everything, including the cable and phone bill, even though they only make up 1% of your monthly finances. I don't like when people say "Such and such only accounts for (insert dollar figure here)" I've seen politicians do it a lot. Point is, no one item is going to save you all the money you're looking for, it's a collective thing. I don't know what that Pluto mission cost's, but it is my firm belief we'd be better off spending that money on our own planet. Now if we didn't carry a credit card balance of a zillion dollars, then I'd have zero issue with it, but again, from where I sit, it looks like a huge freaking waste of money to me.
You sure do look at everything, and I've done this too. And a lot of folks come to the conclusion that, if you need $1000 a month, and your phone bill is $45, there are probably better places to look.

A govt is not a household budget, nor does a senator occupy the same position as a mother and father. I'm intimately familiar with my budget, most govt people are not, because they deal at a very high level with macro numbers, much lower level administrators and dept heads figure out to which programs money is actually spent. The Defense Dept is instructive, the SECDEF came out a few years ago and said he didn't even really know how big his department is, let alone have the capability to line by line audit it.

This is not an impassioned plea by me to excuse the govt from doing more sane things with our money, they have a responsibility to be stewards of it. But its quite noticeable at this point that absent reform in the Big 3, the rest is shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Its been my experience lately whenever I get a chance to talk to a Congressman or so forth, people call in with all sorts of concerns, entitlement reform is not one of them. So I wouldn't expect movement on the issue.
 

jflores

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You sure do look at everything, and I've done this too. And a lot of folks come to the conclusion that, if you need $1000 a month, and your phone bill is $45, there are probably better places to look.

A govt is not a household budget, nor does a senator occupy the same position as a mother and father. I'm intimately familiar with my budget, most govt people are not, because they deal at a very high level with macro numbers, much lower level administrators and dept heads figure out to which programs money is actually spent. The Defense Dept is instructive, the SECDEF came out a few years ago and said he didn't even really know how big his department is, let alone have the capability to line by line audit it.

This is not an impassioned plea by me to excuse the govt from doing more sane things with our money, they have a responsibility to be stewards of it. But its quite noticeable at this point that absent reform in the Big 3, the rest is shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Its been my experience lately whenever I get a chance to talk to a Congressman or so forth, people call in with all sorts of concerns, entitlement reform is not one of them. So I wouldn't expect movement on the issue.
I think I could add one thing, you are used to what you deal with. For a guy that makes 100k a year or less, or maybe a guy that manages his department of a couple hundred thousand or maybe even a few million, 400 million dollars probably seems like a ton of money.

For a Congressman allocating tens or hundreds of billions of dollars, something that is a few hundred million dollars isn't even a blip on the radar. This effect isn't even concentrated to the USG, if you watch IGN's interview with the three heads of Microsoft's Xbox, they talk about what it was like sitting at a table among the executives where they thought they were in charge of a ton of money because they had a billion dollars to throw at development and marketing, and the guy sitting next to him had 10x that and they realized what a small fish they were in the empire.
 

Jeremara

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I like the pictures, and that the US is a space pioneer. A waste of money? I don't know, there are a lot of people who received paychecks, in whole or in part, from that money.

Had the Russians or Chinese done this, I would wish it was us for leadership reasons.
 

jflores

Offensive Coordinator
Feb 3, 2004
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I like the pictures, and that the US is a space pioneer. A waste of money? I don't know, there are a lot of people who received paychecks, in whole or in part, from that money.

Had the Russians or Chinese done this, I would wish it was us for leadership reasons.
This is an excellent point that dovetails into Silent's point. There are benefits that are not strictly budgetary to a space program. Prestige is one of them.

Tang, pace makers, microwaves, and all the other Apollo bust out type of stuff, the space program typically isn't spearheading that anymore. The technology to fly a spacecraft past Pluto's been around for 40 years or so, and we're not really pushing the edge in terms of trying to sustain humans in space like we were in the 60's.

There will certainly be side benefits as engineers figure out the most efficient or smart way to code these things or try out different types of propulsion technologies and so forth, but spending 500 million bucks or whatever doesn't necessarily mean we're going to see vast returns in other fields.

I consider it very important though that the USG continue to fund pure research, as companies pretty well abhor activities that don't make money, and even in the private realm, several of the more prominent companies have said R&D has fallen by the way side as corporate culture is more about chasing near term stock gains.
 

litespeedhuskerfan

Nebraska Football Hall of Fame
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Agree with you on budgeting - we should look at everything. If you're doing a cost/benefit analysis on space exploration, I'd humbly suggest that it's still very important.

Innovation - heart monitors, solar panels, global communications, medical research, robotics, etc. There are countless examples of innovation effects from the space program
Problem Solving for current challenges - research on the international space station, development of the Hubble telescope, etc.
Cultural Benefits - attracting new generations to scientific research, International cooperation, mutual understanding of global concerns

Where many see waste, I see incalculable benefits. Unless we find intelligent life. In that case, we're all screwed. :eek:

This sounds like every department head or manager at a company who says, "Yeah I know we need to cut expenses, but you can't touch my department because blah blah blah". Everyone agrees we spend to much, but they don't want their department or pet project touched when it comes time to do something about it. Color me doubtful we'll see the ROI to justify this pet project. Hope I'm wrong.
 

ReuniteGondwanaland

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Sep 8, 2010
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When it comes to basic research, the odds that we'll see huge returns from this particular project are somewhat low. What tends to happen is that most such projects don't return a lot, then one of them is huge.

NASA's budget has been cut from 5% of the budget in the 60s, to 1% in the 90s, to less than half a percent now. If we'd cut other programs close to that much we wouldn't have any problems.
 

jeans15

Head Coach
Feb 23, 2011
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The government's number one job is defense not all the other crap. They can spend as much as they need on that.
 

jflores

Offensive Coordinator
Feb 3, 2004
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This sounds like every department head or manager at a company who says, "Yeah I know we need to cut expenses, but you can't touch my department because blah blah blah". Everyone agrees we spend to much, but they don't want their department or pet project touched when it comes time to do something about it. Color me doubtful we'll see the ROI to justify this pet project. Hope I'm wrong.
The dynamics are different. The Pluto mission cost us a reported $72 million a year. Congress can dock NASA 72 million each year, and return it to the tax payer, and we can all get somewhere around 25 cents if we did a flat return regardless of income. Adjusted for income, us low level schmucks might see a whole dime, don't blow it one place ;)

But Congress won't get involved over 72 million, and even they did it would cost them more than 72 million worth of time to come to grips with legislation that would parse it back into tax refunds. And if it was reallocated within the budget, it wouldn't even begin to spit on the interest on the debt, let alone the debt.
 

jflores

Offensive Coordinator
Feb 3, 2004
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The government's number one job is defense not all the other crap. They can spend as much as they need on that.
A quick note. The oceans count for alot. Even accounting for the odd lone wolf terrorist or 9/11, the military would be *much* smaller if only oriented towards defense of the Nation's homeland and sovereignty.

Its as large and expensive as it is, because we primarily became the global police force after Britain burned out in WWII.
 

GretnaShawn

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Sep 28, 2010
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We have a problem with entitlements and the people who run them. My uncle is a Lt Col in the Army and worked with anti-terrorism for awhile. They found out that some people were taking their checks and sending them directly to terrorism organizations. When the Army brought this up to the welfare office the response was, 'we know it happens, but if we stop it we would be overstaffed and have to lay people off.'

This is not a joke, I'm being serious. I know this is a small percentage of people doing this. But the management of our government is pathetic. They would rather give taxpayer money to terrorist organizations than fire one of their own.
 
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Tyante

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We have a problem with entitlements and the people who run them. My uncle is a Lt Col in the Army and worked with anti-terrorism for awhile. They found out that some people were taking their checks and sending them directly to terrorism organizations. When the Army brought this up to the welfare office the response was, 'we know it happens, but if we stop it we would be overstaffed and have to lay people off.'

This is not a joke, I'm being serious. I know this is a small percentage of people doing this. But the management of our government is pathetic. They would rather give taxpayer money to terrorist organizations than fire one of their own.
This seems really odd to me. Did the people found to be sending checks to terrorism organizations get arrested for supporting terrorist? It seems like if they are arrested for this, it would fix the problem.
 

GretnaShawn

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This seems really odd to me. Did the people found to be sending checks to terrorism organizations get arrested for supporting terrorist? It seems like if they are arrested for this, it would fix the problem.
I'm not sure. I think it was more that the people didn't deserve the checks in the first place and were scamming the govt to get them. The checks were direct deposited into accounts and the people were hard to find.

They wanted to freeze the accounts and stop the checks, but the welfare office was like 'we know it happens, but what are you gunna do?'

I could ask him for more clarification of you are interested.
 

rrthusker

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I like the pictures, and that the US is a space pioneer. A waste of money? I don't know, there are a lot of people who received paychecks, in whole or in part, from that money.

Had the Russians or Chinese done this, I would wish it was us for leadership reasons.
The Chinese have stated they have already colonized Pluto.
 
Jun 20, 2001
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The thing I don't like about NASAs missions is there intent to do/spend/rationalize anything to show their is "Life" on other worlds. If that were all the Mars and Pluto projects were for I would be against them.

However, the exploration of space is a cutting edge thing. If we first understand more of the landscape of what is around us then we can start to unravel things like Quantum Mechanics vs. the Weak Force, Dark Matter, etc... the list is long.

The world in general will be better because if it. The photos are AWESOME, but not the only reason for the mission. it will take 16 months to get all of the images and data back from the Pluto pass. That is a lot of data.
 

Tyante

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I'm not sure. I think it was more that the people didn't deserve the checks in the first place and were scamming the govt to get them. The checks were direct deposited into accounts and the people were hard to find.

They wanted to freeze the accounts and stop the checks, but the welfare office was like 'we know it happens, but what are you gunna do?'

I could ask him for more clarification of you are interested.
I would be interested in more information. I haven't read about this before and can't find links to it searching. I don't know if everyone is interested. If you don't think so, please contact me directly.
 

jflores

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Feb 3, 2004
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This seems really odd to me. Did the people found to be sending checks to terrorism organizations get arrested for supporting terrorist? It seems like if they are arrested for this, it would fix the problem.
That's because its bogus, in all likelihood.

There was some reporting in the UK awhile ago that ISIL was doing this to the UK welfare system.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-false-claims-online-fraud-student-loans.html

The mechanics described in the original scenario are completely off the wall. An Army O-5 doesn't walk into a civilian office and want some lower ranking official than he to shut down funds. That decision would go up his chain, over to a civilian decisionmaker and down into other departments of the govt. An O-5 and a civilian GS-12 in two separate parts of the USG aren't deciding anything on their own over coffee.
 
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jflores

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Feb 3, 2004
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That's because its bogus, in all likelihood.

There was some reporting in the UK awhile ago that ISIL was doing this to the UK welfare system.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-false-claims-online-fraud-student-loans.html

The mechanics described in the original scenario are completely off the wall. An Army O-5 doesn't walk into a civilian office and want some lower ranking official than he to shut down funds. That decision would go up his chain, over to a civilian decisionmaker and down into other departments of the govt. An O-5 and a civilian GS-12 aren't deciding anything on their own over coffee.

Not only that, but supposing said O5 was involved in domestic operations, telling GretnaShawn about the methods and/or results of said CT operations/investigations would proably be prosecutable as a leaker of national security secrets for said O5.
 

GretnaShawn

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I'll ask him about it next time I see him. I doubt it is classified. He is very thoughtful and measured. And I used to ask him (jokingly) to tell me all of his classified knowledge. And he would only tell me things that just got declassified (like WMDs were in Iraq and he got to support the mission to extract them - neat stuff).

It is also not like it was just him walking into a welfare office and saying to the receptionist, 'I found this out...' I am sure it went up the ladders and that is the response they got. I just know that he was involved or he worked with people that were inloved in it. He is my uncle/Godfather and we are close. I can't imagine why he would lie about it.
 

jflores

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Feb 3, 2004
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I'll ask him about it next time I see him. I doubt it is classified. He is very thoughtful and measured. And I used to ask him (jokingly) to tell me all of his classified knowledge. And he would only tell me things that just got declassified (like WMDs were in Iraq and he got to support the mission to extract them - neat stuff).

It is also not like it was just him walking into a welfare office and saying to the receptionist, 'I found this out...' I am sure it went up the ladders and that is the response they got. I just know that he was involved or he worked with people that were inloved in it. He is my uncle/Godfather and we are close. I can't imagine why he would lie about it.
That would be cool. Something not quite adding up on my end, just curious what clarification might bring.