[FPSPACE] What should NASA be?
kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Mon Apr 2 08:08:54 EDT 2007
there's no more need 4 slanging matches on NASA or US role here,
than the steam let off in "Spaceflight" about the UK's role or non-role
As the only political scientist left in this forum after Dwayne Day
has gone into temporary hibernation, let me suggest we look at budget
first, & rhetoric second. Politics is about the allocation of scarce
resources, when you look under the carpet under the "-isms".
Dwayne pointed out that Science usually averages around one-fifth
of NASA's budget. Naturally, US prestige, foreign policy in the sense of
"soft power", is a given. Naturally pork barrel, allocation of both
geographic and corporate patronage, is another given.
My take is to be hugely relieved that, just once in history,
national prestige & power is being projected partly through Antarctic
bases, space stations, planetary probes, & orbiting telescopes - instead
of those funds being allocated to only building another ten aircraft
carriers, fifty submarines, two hundred B-52s, ICBMs, and one thousand
tanks. That's what was the more usual historic occurrence, and would do
almost nothing for science, & less for engineering.
There are different ways of organizing a consortium. Whether
future space stations will follow the precise ISS format or others, time
will tell. Also remember the ways that corporations, non-profit
organizations, and diplomats organize consortiums are all different.
Vote by shareholding versus vote by stakeholder, etc. The ways the NRF,
Boeing, Virgin Galatic, or Sheraton, would organise a chain of space
stations or Moon bases would all be different.
good luck with your lobbying!
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