Obama in space

Discussion in 'Congress' started by Navy1960, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Navy1960
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    Navy1960 Senior Member

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    Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, held a town hall meeting near the Kennedy Space Center today and vowed strong support for NASA, saying he favors at least one shuttle flight beyond the 10 missions left on the agency's manifest. Obama also said he would work to close the gap between the end of shuttle operations in 2010 and the debut of the Orion spacecraft that will replace it and said earlier reports that he would divert money from NASA's next manned spacecraft to education were unfounded.

    Obama was introduced to an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,300 at the Brevard Community College by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who flew as a payload specialist aboard the shuttle Columbia in 1986. In his opening remarks, Obama delivered his most detailed statement yet on space policy as NASA implements the Bush administration's drive to complete the space station and retire the shuttle fleet by the end of fiscal 2010.

    NASA hopes to replace the shuttle with smaller Orion capsules and huge, unmanned cargo boosters, known collectively as the Constellation program. The goal is to use Orion spacecraft to carry astronauts to and from the station while developing the heavy-lift Ares 5 rocket that will help NASA establish a moon base around 2020.

    Under the Bush administration's plan, the money to pay for the Constellation program primarily will come from funds that now go to the shuttle and space station programs. The Orion spacecraft and its Ares 1 booster are under development, but near-term funding shortfalls will result in a four- to five-year gap between the end of shuttle operations and the advent of routine operations with Orion. During that gap, U.S. astronauts will be forced to hitch rides to the station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

    Today, Obama said he supports the Constellation program and will work to narrow the gap between the end of shuttle operations and the advent of Orion.

    "I know it's still being reported that we were talking about delaying some aspects of the Constellation program to pay for our early education program," he said. "I told my staff we're going to find an entirely different offset because we've got to make sure that the money that's going into NASA for basic research and development continues to go there. That has been a top priority for us. This is an administration that's been anti-science. Whether it's on stem cell research, whether it's on climate change, they have rejected science. I want to reverse that trend, I want us to be a science-based society and I want us to invest in science."

    Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Obama vows NASA support during visit to Florida


    Obama supporters, it's been very difficult for me to find current information on this other than the Obama web page. However. if you look at how he plans to fund early education, one of the lines he mentions is a plan to cut funding for the constellation program by delaying it for 5 years. That would mean that the United States after 2010 till 2020 would have no capability to put their own people into space. In case you have not noticed China yesterday conducted a space walk with their own astronauts and plan on going to the moon in the next 7 years. Also, India just launched a moon program yesterday as well. Am I one of the few that thinks it's still important to have a manned space flight program? The benefits from this are many and proven. So if an Obama supporter can convince me on this one is he currently still planning to keep the program or not?
     
  2. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I think NASA's sci fi plans for space can be put on hold. Since it's inevitable, I propose we use NASA funding to subsidize alternative energy.
     
  3. Navy1960
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    Navy1960 Senior Member

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    dillo NASA's budget is 17.6 billion dollars, and very little of that budget is for manned flight. Some goes to Aviation safety research and they very alternative fuels research that your talking about. When you compare a 17.6 billion dollar Budget to a 700 billion dollar "bailout" and a trillion dollars in new spending compared to the benefits you get from manned flight and research, it's not all that much. IMO to let a manned flight program just languish and die on the vine and ceed the high ground to other nations for research and new technologies is tantamount to giving up. That is something we must not do.
     
  4. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    How is a base on the moon or colonizing Mars going to benefit people ?
    (and I'm not talking about the incidental things they dream up along the way like Tang)
     
  5. Navy1960
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    Navy1960 Senior Member

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    Great question on benefits and I'm not talking about tang myself. I will list just some.

    DIGITAL IMAGING BREAST BIOPSY SYSTEM - The LORAD Stereo Guide Breast Biopsy system incorporates advanced Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) as part of a digital camera system. The resulting device images breast tissue more clearly and efficiently. Known as stereotactic large-core needle biopsy, this nonsurgical system developed with Space Telescope Technology is less traumatic and greatly reduces the pain, scarring, radiation exposure, time, and money associated with surgical biopsies.

    BREAST CANCER DETECTION - A solar cell sensor is positioned directly beneath x-ray film, and determines exactly when film has received sufficient radiation and has been exposed to optimum density. Associated electronic equipment then sends a signal to cut off the x-ray source. Reduction of mammography x-ray exposure reduces radiation hazard and doubles the number of patient exams per machine.

    LASER ANGIOPLASTY - Laser angioplasty with a "cool" type of laser, caller an excimer laser, does not damage blood vessel walls and offers precise non-surgical cleanings of clogged arteries with extraordinary precision and fewer complications than in balloon angioplasty.

    ULTRASOUND SKIN DAMAGE ASSESSMENT - Advanced instrument using NASA ultrasound technology enables immediate assessment of burn damage depth, improving patient treatment, and may save lives in serious burn cases.

    HUMAN TISSUE STIMULATOR - Employing NASA satellite technology, the device is implanted in the body to help patient control chronic pain and involuntary motion disorders through electrical stimulation of targeted nerve centers or particular areas of the brain.

    COOL SUIT - Custom-made suit derived from space suits circulates coolant through tubes to lower patient's body/ temperature, producing dramatic improvement of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other conditions.

    PROGRAMMABLE PACEMAKER - Incorporating multiple NASA technologies, the system consists of the implant and a physician's computer console containing the programming and a data printer. Communicates through wireless telemetry signals.

    OCULAR SCREENING - NASA image processing techniques are used to detect eye problems in very young children. An electronic flash from a 35-millimeter camera sends light into the child's eyes, and a photorefractor analyzes the retinal reflexes, producing an image of each eye.

    AUTOMATED URINALYSIS - NASA fluid dynamics studies helped development of system that automatically extracts and transfers sediment from urine sample to an analyzer microscope, replacing the manual centrifuge method.

    MEDICAL GAS ANALYZER - Astronaut-monitoring technology used to develop system to monitor operating rooms for analysis of anesthetic gasses and measurement of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen concentrations to assure proper breathing environment for surgery patients.

    VOICE-CONTROLLED WHEELCHAIR - NASA teleoperator and robot technology used to develop chair and manipulator that respond to 35 one-word voice commands utilizing a minicomputer to help patient perform daily tasks, like picking up packages, opening doors, and turning on appliances.

    Other spinoffs in this area include: Arteriosclerosis detection, ultrasound scanners, automatic insulin pump, portable x-ray device, invisible braces, dental arch wire, palate surgery technology, clean room apparel, implantable heart aid, MRI, bone analyzer, and cataract surgery tools.

    Thats just in Aerospace medicine, that is not where near the benefits reaped in computers, transportation, or other commercial areas.

    NASA - Space Program Benefits: NASA?s Positive Impact on Society

    There is a good little site to go to in case your intrested, and the benefits you get for the dollars spent is worth the money IMO.

    “We see the transformative effects of the Space Economy all around us through numerous technologies and life-saving capabilities. We see the Space Economy in the lives saved when advanced breast cancer screening catches tumors in time for treatment, or when a heart defibrillator restores the proper rhythm of a patient’s heart….We see it when weather satellites warn us of coming hurricanes, or when satellites provide information critical to understanding our environment and the effects of climate change. We see it when we use an ATM or pay for gas at the pump with an immediate electronic response via satellite. Technologies developed for exploring space are being used to increase crop yields and to search for good fishing regions at sea.” NASA Administrator Michael Griffin

    So can you imagine with those benefits already realized, what a bright future there is if the Constellation Program is allowed to progess to it's end?
     
  6. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Can't these technologies be developed without having to go "exploring" ?
     
  7. Navy1960
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    Navy1960 Senior Member

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    All those technologies dillo are benefits of the Space program. In some cases these technologies would not have even been thought of if it were not for space flight. What my feelings are , that of all the programs that the government runs this one actually does produce a positive result for very little money. I honestly do not think half of these technologies would have been developed without the advent of space flight or aerospace research. The biggest problem with NASA lately and this is a personal opinion mind you is a lack of vision. They have flown the Space Shuttle long past it's intended retirement date and up until recently , prior NASA managers did not have the lack of vision or the support of congress to replace it.
     
  8. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Sorry but I have a bit of a problem with claiming these technologies would not have been thought of if it were not for space flight. And I still would like to know how a moon base or colonizing Mars benefits us.
    Vision comes from the human mind. Now there is an area that could use some exploring but I think there are far too many people who are afraid to go there.
     
  9. N4mddissent
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    N4mddissent Active Member

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    I am enthusiastic about scientific research and discover and think it should be more of a national priority. My belief that Obama was more knowledgable and supportive of science was one of the things that made me lean toward him as a candidate early on. My opinion of his committment to science was reinforced in an article in nature recently that listed the scientific advisors for each campaign. I was disappointed with McCain's list. I know he worked on issues for Nasa during the Challenger explosion, but he picked a list that was more like what I would expect from Bush. It doesn't have anyone with any real scientific credentials on it. Here's the list. (I didn't bother listing several Noble Laurettes that the article said were loosely affiliated with Obama)

    Obama:
    Harold Varmus: Nobel laureate head of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and former director of the National Institutes of Health.

    Don Lamb: astrophysicist at the University of Chicago

    Henry Kelly: president of the Federation of American Scientists in Washington

    Gil Omenn: a professor of internal medicine and human genetics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

    Sharon Long: a biologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California

    Tom Kalil: special assistant to the chancellor for science and technology at the University of California, Berkeley

    Plus 2 energy and climate experts:
    Dan Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley

    Jason Grumet, founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC.

    McCain's advisors:Floyd DesChamps, of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

    Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard

    Meg Whitman, the former chief executive of eBay.

    James Woolsey, director of central intelligence under Bill Clinton

    Robert McFarlane, national security advisor under Reagan

    James Schlesinger, secretary of defence under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and secretary of energy under Jimmy Carter

    Steve Schmidt, adviser to former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and to Vice-President Dick Cheney
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  10. N4mddissent
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    N4mddissent Active Member

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    Sorry, just realized I didn't really answer your question. I haven't heard anything yet, but will try to find out. However, from the support he is getting from the scientific community and discussions of science in his books, along with the list of advisors I stated, I would not be surprised that he is emphasizing or prioritizing scientific research. At the very least, I think he is getting good advice about the risks and rewards and possibilities.
     

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