Space Chat 1

EG: How much money have you sent to Haiti?
SH: none.
EG: You don't want to know how many times I've texted Haiti to 9099.
SH: what? explain, please.
EG: Michelle Obama keeps telling me to text Haiti to 9099 to automatically donate ten bucks to Haiti.
SH: Yeah, I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm not pleased with Obama.
EG: You haven't heard about the fucking "Text Haiti to 9099 on your phone to donate money to Haiti campaign?"
SH: no. i had heard about texting donations to haiti. but i don't recall anything about that number. nor has mrs. mendacity of hope asked me to donate.
EG: Wow. Mendacity of hope. That's a good one.
SH: not mine
EG: I'll have to start forwarding you the emails that I get from my office mates.
SH: my complaints are very specific. chiefly, he is trying to destroy my space program. that and his habeas corpus promises, but they come in a distant second.
EG: What habeas corpus promise?  What happened with the NASA budget proposal?
SH: he promised to restore habeas corpus for pows. long story. regarding nasa, if his budget proposal is apporved by congress, the u.s. government will no longer fly its own astronauts. ever. we have already spent about $9 billion on the replacement program for the shuttle. his budget cancels that program completely, instead gives some money to private companies that might be able to build astronaut-carrying rockets for nasa. we'd buy tickets, in other words.
SH: honestly, i might not have a huge problem with that strategy if not for the pathetic amount of money he's offering: just $50 million. that's $50 million for private companies to build us a human space travel system after we spent $9 billion over the past five years working on the program he's canceling. he promised me during the campaign he would remain fiscally committed to a human space flight program.

EG: Yeah. That sucks. Big time. However...You should take heart that, in my opinion, space travel is inevitable. I am much more interested in mankind's adventure in space than I am in a strictly American adventure in space.
EG: agreed and agreed.
EG: To be honest, we've become such an importer of everything but culture I'm not sure the US is the right place for the next giant leap. Lastly, and again...this is my opinion, I believe the most important work to be done on space travel can currently happen on Earth.
SH: i don't know. i think i see where you're coming from, but i don't believe anyone else will fill the gap anytime soon.
EG: We need to develop much better propulsion systems before anything big can really happen.
I'm all for unmanned rovers and probes and all that but I just don't know how we're gonna get much farther than Mars if we're still burning dinosaur wine.
Manned expeditions I mean
SH: agreed again. or by robots in space. i realize that. i realize that human space flight is incredibly expensive relative to other, arguably more important space endeavors. i realize that is is in many ways a low yield expense. however, i am certain i would not care nearly as much about space as i do today if we had not landed men on the moon. i think you know how often i make "for the children" arguments, but there's something to be said, in my personal experience, about the inspiration brought by human exploration. i think that inspiration will pay dividends in the nature and pace of progress in space. additionally, and somewhat related, we might need to go to mars for a thousand other reasons. i want us to go because it is next.
(and because i want it to happen before i die)

EG: I completely agree. I wish space was THE priority. How wonderful if all the billions spent on war in the middle east for the last twenty years had been spent on the space program. Since that's apparently not going to happen in America, I've got to root for anybody else and get excited about what we can do on the ground.
It's kind of defeatist I guess. And sad. I'd love to see man in Jupiter's shadow before I die.
SH: i know. and as much fun as i have thinking about how cool space is, i am confident in my assessment of its importance.
EG: I would rank tech advances that I'm monitoring in this order of importance:
   Supercomputers/Artificial Intelligence
   Space flight/energy systems
SH: funding is the problem. and i just don't know if there's anything on that list with more consumable hoopla than rockets. i think your triage is correct. i guess that part of me wants to believe America can muster the type of fervor for space that existed during apollo. people really cared about it back then.

EG: Certainly. I'm afraid most people can't see past the moon.
SH: that's a good point.

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