U.S. Astronaut John Young (yes, he's aged some) cozies up to the Japanese Super Roomba 1, the first humanoid robot prototype, to be delivered to the ISS Nov. 1 aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle
The Space Bill passed Congress, with US Manned Spaceflight being kept alive a bit longer, as explained here.
1) The Commercial funding is 1.3 Billion dollars US, not the 3.3 that Barry Obama requested. Either Elon Musk and Richard Branson were asking for triple the amount they felt they needed, or they should be pretty unhappy.
2) " But the extra space mission would not affect the coming Oct. 1 layoffs of nearly 1,400 shuttle workers by NASA contractor United Space Alliance – a joint venture by Boeing and Lockheed Martin that oversees NASA's shuttle fleet. USA announced the shuttle worker layoffs in July as part of a workforce reduction plan due to the space shuttle fleet's impending retirement. "
Ah, so Boeing and Arms Merchant Extraordinaire Lockheed-Martin were involved, eh? Well there you have it then. Big Money = Bill Passage. That's the Conservation of Economical and Political Money/Energy Law (a.k.a. The Big Money Baksheesh Lobbyist Certainty Principle) from Political "Science", in action for you.
3) "President Obama's new space plan, announced in February, cancelled NASA's moon-oriented Constellation program set forth by former President George W. Bush and called for more ambitious deep space missions to an asteroid and Mars. The Constellation program was responsible for the Orion space capsules and Ares rockets set to follow the shuttle program."
Lord knows I have few kind words for Dubya, but come ON, people! Is there a single astrophysicist with a pair of BALLS large enough to stand up to these folks ?! Take a break from perturbating behind the closed doors of your offices, willya, just for a minute, and consider ...
Our priorities (USA) in manned space exploration seem to be:
T1) Near-Earth Asteroid
3) Paying off the Russians to ferry our Astroboys'n'girls to the ISS, if they'd be so kind
When in fact they should be:
3) The Asteroid Belt
T1) Moon Caves
T1) Moon Poles
T1) Moon Farside Space Observatory
T1) Low Moon Orbit Satellite Communications Network
T1) Moon Spaceport for Solar System Exploration (1/4 earth's gravity doesn't suck. Well it does because gravity sucks, but only 1/4 as much as deep gravity well Earth).
6) Everything else
Once again, I strongly call for Human settlement of our double planet twin. I believe it will happen, but at this rate all the signs on the moon will be in Chinese. America's bugged out, dammit!
- Steve Colyer
P.S. Also from the article:
Most interesting to me was the following passage:
"NASA and its contractors are currently preparing the shuttle Discovery to launch Nov. 1 to deliver a new storage room and humanoid robot prototype to the station."
Human prototype robot ... what?? No, that's not a pic of John Young and the robot above in what passes for my sad sense of humor, it's a picture of Dr. Zachary Smith and "Robot" from the cheesy schlocky 1960's American "sci-fi" TV series, "Lost in Space."
Still ... "Human prototype robot"?! Can she whistle Dixie, and does she eat crackers in bed? Both at the same time? Just another sad thought, sorry.
UPDATE (Oct. 2, 2010): Lori Garver, the Number 2 person at NASA, defends herself, rather badly in my opinion, here. But don't believe me, read the replies and you'll see. Sheesh.