Saturday, August 22, 2009

From New Scientist: Abandoned NASA Projects

The magazine New Scientist just put up a very interesting article on abandoned space projects.

Take note of when most of the projects were canceled; either in 1993 or 2001-2002--basically when a new political party took over the White House. I suspect that most of them weren't canceled because they were necessarily bad ideas or too costly (what space project doesn't have cost overruns?), but simply because the new administration wanted to kill the projects of the previous one out of politically-motivated spite.

As I've stated in previous entries here, we have to stop this political game of tit-for-tat every eight years with our space program if we ever want to accomplish any long range goals, such as returning to the Moon or going to Mars. Space is just to vast and difficult an undertaking for such short-term petty-minded tactics to get anywhere.


Rob A said...

NASA should be more like CERN, government funded, but with its own internal management, rather than a bunch of bureaucrats who put personal grudges and their own appearance over progress.

Here's a little link I like :

If you look at the structure diagram in the link you see that CERN is a nice little technocracy


Paul Lucas said...

I wish it could be that easy. You're right, that's probably what NASA should be like. I don't thinks its likely anytime soon, though. NASA is way too high profile (CERN only makes headlines once in a while; everything little thing NASA does by contrast ends up in the newspaper), sucks up too much money ($19 billion a year), and has its cotractor-web wormed into too many areas of the US for it to be allowed such easy autonomy.