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NASA swerves serious cash cuts – but Earth climate probes, asteroid snatcher face axe

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Unhappy

"...the space agency will have to pull out of the climate-studying DSCOVR satellite system, and has cancelled other satellites due to study the Earth's ecosystem."

"This budget cut sponsored by the Koch brothers."

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Meh

That's fair enough isn't it? The Koch brothers are both in their seventies, so global warming isn't going to affect them, and there's still plenty of money to be made.

Of course the rest of us are fucked, but what possible reason could they have for giving a fuck about us?

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Boffin

KOCH is an ag company too..

They really can't do without earth sciences to move their programs forward - they will simply finance their own launches using trusted partners.

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It's not a cut, its streamlining

Trump is just trying to make government spending more efficient. NASA will get to focus on space while their climate project funding is redirected towards other agencies.

You know, like the EPA, the UN climate project, the Dept. of Energy's clean sources research, the NOAA, the various health and human services groups trying to prevent human suffering due to climatic displacement, various academic climate projects supported by the government...

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

I can't agree with you there, as Trump has stated before that AGW is false. To me, this looks just like a convenient way to hide the evidence.

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

BS. We've spent enough treasure on the big swindle. There are better was to spend science dollars than on a theory that said we'd all bake, until we didn't bake and it was re-purposed to be about the changing climate instead.

It's over, the swindlers have had a good run, now move on.

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

Well, I suppose that as the AGW deniers in government can't dispute the evidence, the best payback for their paymasters in the fossil fuel industries is to stop collecting the evidence which is measuring the effects. I suppose those with a sociopathic personality won't be bothered by the implications of what they're doing, as long as the money keeps rolling in.

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

I suppose those with a sociopathic personality won't be bothered by the implications

I hope that's not a reference to our dear friend and treasured comrade Big John.

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

It's irrelevant. NASA is the 'National Aeronautics and Space Administration' - there's nothing about climate or earth sciences in their remit...

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

You mean Earth is not in space, or that space is not the good place to study our planet?

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Stop

Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

You know, like the EPA, the UN climate project, the Dept. of Energy's clean sources research, the NOAA, the various health and human services groups trying to prevent human suffering due to climatic displacement, various academic climate projects supported by the government...

Except that the EPA and NOAA budgets and UN subscriptions are also cut and the bosses put in by trump at all the US Departments mentioned wont prioritise the programs that NASA was leading the world in.

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Boffin

Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

"Trump has stated before that AGW is false."

that's because it _IS_ false. what part of "CO2 does not absorb infrared energy corresponding to normal earth temperatures" (and therefore can NOT be the 'greenhouse gas' everyone hopes it would be, so they can CONTROL PEOPLE'S BEHAVIOR in the name of reducing it) is NOT obvious here?

The entire mechanism for the CLAIMS of "man made global climate *whatever*" fall on its FACE if man-made CO2 cannot be the CAUSE of it all. And it can NOT be. It's just not SCIENCE to claim that it is!

Think about it: what makes a greenhouse gas a greenhouse gas? It is supposed to TRAP HEAT, i.e. keep infrared energy from going out into outer space! Well, WATER has MANY times the effect of CO2, and absorbs IR energies that correspond to normal Earth temperatures. Therefore a cloudy night is warmer, a clear night is colder. Similarly, it doesn't block incoming energy either, so a cloudy day is cooler, a clear day is warmer.

CO2 has NO such effects since it doesn't affect IR energies that correspond to temperatures over about -50C (or F, take your pick). Yes, I ran the numbers myself, and I'm pretty confident that my calculations were correct. Anyone else cn challenge me on this, the intarweb has the info if you look hard, but it _IS_ difficult to find [I wonder why?].

So in short, MAN MADE CO2 does NOT affect climate. Even if we pumped zillions of tons into the atmosphere, RAIN would deplete it very quickly. It would end up as carbonates in the ocean. And algea blooms would consume it. People use CO2 injectors for fish tanks and greenhouses because it makes plants grow more. The biological equilibrium would compensate for anything humans could POSSIBLY do to CO2, even if it DID cause climate change.

[this stuff should be obvious but I guess I have to point it out. again]

but yeah, getting rid of NASA budget items that focus on "climate change" is a good idea, because it is a WASTE of MONEY!

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

Well, Bob, you've certainly convinced yourself. Now all you've got to do is convince the scientists who actually understand what they're talking about and your Nobel prize should be assured!

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

The President's budget proposal calls for cuts to almost everything. The exceptions are increases to the Department of Defense(52% increase), Veterans Administration, and nuclear materials handling at the Department o Energy. I wouldn't be shocked if, once I'm done digging through the proposal, that DoE funding is for extracting weapons grade materials. The only scientists that would not lose are those with pyromania.

Luckily the President doesn't write the budget. The President doesn't have line item veto power on the budget. This is just his wish list. A President's only real power is to sign or veto the final budget.

The House of Representatives has already passed an authorization bill for $19.5 billion in FY2017. This amount still has to be appropriated in the budget so the amounts will most likely change. Typically more items are added as politicians drive pork to their districts. Here is a link to what has already been passed, by a large margin:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/442/text

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

"Trump has stated before that AGW is false."

that's because it _IS_ false. what part of "CO2 does not absorb infrared energy corresponding to normal earth temperatures" (and therefore can NOT be the 'greenhouse gas' everyone hopes it would be, so they can CONTROL PEOPLE'S BEHAVIOR in the name of reducing it) is NOT obvious here?

----

Well, gosh, you've convinced ME. Half a dozen paragraphs to demolish the career-long intellectual work of thousands of scientists, who agree to a man and woman that it's very real indeed. I guess they''ll all take one look at your simplistic argument, realise they've missed the blindingly obvious and been been wrong all this time, and go find other jobs...

It's not that simple. It never is.

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

Bob certainly convinced me; I'd have seen the light earlier if only I'd come across his ALL CAPS argument before...

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Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

The more I see of his output the more I'm convinced that bombastic bob is simply the next iteration of the amamfrommars AI (most likely created by some sort of merge process with Tay). I mean 'bombastic' displays a level of self awareness entirely absent in the actual output so it has to be a coder's little joke.

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Holmes

Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

It's not so much that CO2 is bad, because geologists and other science disciplines have proven that the earth had MORE CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, when plant life was at its zenith - it isn't the CO2 that is necessarily bad, it is the RAPID CHANGE that makes scientists worried. Anytime a rapid change in any system like the earth's atmosphere or the weather, even if it is just one data point, mathematical models show that it can change the chaos model and go in directions totally unpredictable. I really think this whole fear is just that, and quite frankly, what little I know about chaos mathematics makes me nervous too!

But there is another theory about a chaos model - if you can find what is called the "attractant", you can actually totally control the system. What scientists need to do is find that controlling factor if they are truly going to avert any theoretical disaster. I mean really, do we think the third world is going to listen to our fears? They are rapidly up and coming, and may not care for our "theories" at all. They are sitting on fossil fuels too, and are going to expect the right to use it for them selves, even if we have rejected them long ago.

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Happy

Re: It's not a cut, its streamlining

And yet he's convinced at least one other person... or bot.

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Looks to me like the $200 Million is a drop in the bucket compared to what's being paid for the SLS and Orion. I do wonder that if SpaceX get their man-rated Dragon flying if NASA will continue funding this?

Cut the development budget and presto... everything else could be back in and still have money saved. I love bacon and ham but not pork barrel projects. Just sayin'.

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Looks to me like the $200 Million is a drop in the bucket compared to what's being paid for the SLS and Orion. I do wonder that if SpaceX get their man-rated Dragon flying if NASA will continue funding this?

Sadly not. Even once Falcon Heavy is operational, SLS will be bigger - significant if you're launching big science projects (like telescopes with big mirrors) that can't be assembled in orbit across multiple launches.

Additionally, even if FH matched SLS for size, NASA would want two systems available for redundancy in the event there was a problem with SpaceX. It's the same reason ULA continue to offer both Delta IV and Atlas V - two vehicles, designed independently, using different engines, etc (notably, Delta IV uses embargo-proof American engines, not Russian RD180s).

Once ULA's Vulcan vehicle and/or Blue Origin's New Glenn become available, then maybe they can take SLS out behind the fuel stores and put it to sleep at last. Even whilst "active", I'd be amazed if SLS launched more than two or three times given it's $500m/launch price tag, but they won't stand the product down yet. Even then, the only thing which will properly "replace" SLS (with it's massive 100-130tonne to LEO) will be SpaceX's behemoth ITS.

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SLS will be bigger - significant if you're launching big science projects (like telescopes with big mirrors) that can't be assembled in orbit across multiple launches.

Only one large optical telescope on the docket for the next couple of decades, as far as I'm aware, and JWST is scheduled for a Delta Heavy launch I believe?

Incidentally, I'm going to be more nervous when the JWST comes to deploy and assemble itself on orbit than at any time since MSL EDL.

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JWST launch

JWST is going up on an Ariane 5 ECA - The Launch

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NASA back to space

Too much money was wasted on redundant climate change studies. Nasa can focus on what it was created to do and that is space exploration. This is good news for real science and not so much for the worshipers of man caused global warming.

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LDS
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Re: NASA back to space

Just, all it can design is an Apollo 1.1 atop a launcher again reusing the same technologies designed fifty years ago.

I would have cut *that* budget to force them to think about something newer, better and cheaper. But propaganda is better suited by useless missions to get the headlines, than real science.

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Re: NASA back to space

force them to think about something newer, better and cheaper

Do you really think they haven't thought about that? Where have you been for the last forty years?

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Re: NASA back to space

@LDS,

The problem is that NASA is using that 50 year old tech BECAUSE the budget is insufficient to get something properly new researched and designed. Compounded to that the problem that their budget is subject to change without notice every 4 years so setting up a long term research project often ends up being completely useless as budgets get cut right when the actual prototyping and testing starts. This has lead to a LOT of promissing research ending up in the bin at NASA and has given us the overly conservative program culture we see today. Want NASA to boldly go forth and build the next big thing in space? Give them a large budget increase and make a law that prevents ANYONE (even the next president, congress or senate) from decreasing it before the program is either succesful or the budget is spent. And then make sure the standard porkbarreling that happens now doesn't happen either. Because that's another massive moneypit with no actual benefit.

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Re: NASA back to space

@imanidiot

If they had put the money wasted on climate change projects (CAGW is not in their remit) into the R&D required to have better ways of 1, getting into space, and 2, getting about when there, we would most probably have had people living on the moon and working the asteroid belt for resources by now.

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Re: NASA back to space

@SouthernLogic

Right, because other planets are so much more interesting and crucial to humanity than the one we live on. (Hint: it is actually quite useful and informative to study the earth from space.)

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Re: NASA back to space

This.

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Pint

Re: NASA back to space (@ SundogUK)

"This."

This who?

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Re: NASA back to space

@Ivan 4,

The decision to do that is however not actually NASA's to make. It's budget and what it has to spend those on is pretty much decided by the US government and it can't just go around and yank a bag of money from one project and spend it on something else.

The thing is, all current data points to the current climate changing. Global weather patterns are shifting, with warmer air and ocean currents reaching further north than we have seen in the last 150 or so years of records. Understanding the why is important. Whether it's anthropogenic or not. Since the best way to study these patterns is from a space vehicle NASA is one of the logical choices for earth observation research. And thus why it's been running these missions.

BTW, living on the moon is a massive waste of resources. There is not much useful there and the Moon has a pretty deep gravity well, requiring lots of resources to get things back off the surface. Bigger spacestation, maybe. Working the astroid belt for resources? I still have my doubts that's ever going to be profitable.

Biggest problem still is NASA's budget and focus gets pushed around way too often and way too suddenly, putting a lot of valuable research down the drain.

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Devil

Re: NASA back to space

newer/better/cheaper - part of that is the shift to private industry for routine launch vehicles.

meanwhile, NASA did a lot of really cool stuff back in the nineties, and maybe noughties, with some radical engine designs and whatnot (NOT just the ion drives). As I recall, the project was shelved when their test vehicle crashed, and making a replacement was too expensive.

But yeah private industry is likely to be the best source for new ideas anyway. Pouring money into a black hole gets us a bunch of agenda-driven gummint bureaucrats and "scientists" wasting taxpayer money on their pet projects. If a private company must make a profit, on the other hand, they weed that out themselves.

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Re: NASA back to space

@ Southern Logic

I see your logic actually has gone south.

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Unhappy

Depressing but not very surprising.

Eliminate climate monitoring. Done

Continue to bankroll hugely expensive NASA owned launcher without any missions (because NASA is not budgeted for both the launcher and payloads so big they need it). Done

Cancel asteroid capture mission because they are too stupid or short sighted to realize that's the best way to get around the Solar System (not just Mars) with massive (metres thick) radiation shielding. Done.

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Coherence

This budget is very coherent when one knows that it comes from wingnut fossil-energies promoters and scientific evidence deniers.

These old white guys don't give a fuck of others, why would they have any concern for the next generations?

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Thumb Down

Re: as too are plans for a lander on Europa

Pah!

This was the mission I was most excited about. (2010's "ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE" notwithstanding.)

Now it looks like I'll be long gone before anything lands there. SAD! (aherm)

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Re: as too are plans for a lander on Europa

Well of course that one is cancelled. Someone told Trump they might find alien life there, of course Trump then assumed illegal aliens and we know how he feels about those...

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Facepalm

I cannot believe that on the forums for a site that is technology/science related there are posts by, supposedly, intelligent people decrying climate change; it really is depressing!

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most of them are "ex employees" of rolls royce and other companies

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I think you're skimming the loud, shouty ones. Many us are not deniers, nor believers (in the cause). That the climate is changing is a given. It has throughout history if we look at the archeological record.

The problem is the cause. I see nothing wrong with reducing pollution such as CO2, particulates, water cleanup, etc. That's a good thing. But is it the cause of the climate change or is this a natural occurrence? Much of the data I've read about takes that big yellow ball we orbit out of the maths. Is it a factor or not? What drove previous climate changes? These are things we need answers to as far as climate change.

Just because we're skeptical of the cause doesn't mean we don't believe there is a change.

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@Mark 85 - This needs to be said more often. The climate has been, and always will be changing. The only real question is what sort of impact (if any) we have on it. In addition to studying the cause, we should also be looking at how to mitigate the effects of changing climate on humanity. The earth as a whole will continue along it's merry way regardless, whether we're along for the ride (as well as what condition we'd be in) remains a mystery.

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"Much of the data I've read about takes that big yellow ball we orbit out of the maths. Is it a factor or not? What drove previous climate changes? These are things we need answers to as far as climate change."

All those issues and more have been researched by scientists, before concluding that our greenhouse gas emissions are the forcing factor for climate change. The fact that you haven't read about it indicates that you are getting your information from sources specialising in alt facts. Try Berkely Earth, which was originally funded by the Koch brothers, until their expectations were crushed by the results of their research.

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Much of the data I've read about takes that big yellow ball we orbit out of the maths.

Absolute nonsense. I don't know what you've been reading, but you may want to broaden your sources considerably.

Just because we're skeptical of the cause doesn't mean we don't believe there is a change.

I should hope not. Nobody (sane) these days - not even most climate change "deniers" - seriously disputes that climate change is happening. The debate centres entirely over whether human intervention is a driving factor. You're flogging a dead horse.

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Aeronautics?

Somehow everybody forgets that NASA is also about aeronautics, so it'll be interesting to see whether any of their proposed X-plane projects survive.

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Anonymous Coward

Weather Satellites?

Presumably in Trump's mind weather satellites are also Earth observers, and therefore aren't required?

There's not that much difference between them. A weather satellite takes pictures too (we all like to know where the clouds are), that's about it.

That's going to make the weather forecast pretty tricky to be right...

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder why the Christian Right don't want to hunt for life eleswhere

Cos the Bibble said so?

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Re: I wonder why the Christian Right don't want to hunt for life eleswhere

You 'aving a turkish, my son?

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Mushroom

Re: I wonder why the Christian Right don't want to hunt for life eleswhere

I don't think any science believing Christian cares whether life elsewhere is discovered - that wouldn't change God's word one twit - after all God created all life - who are we to judge his methods or motivations? That is what a good Christian should believe - nothing a scientist can change about that, because the Bible says the earth will go away in a flash some day - so a more accurate question is do Christians care about preserving something that is going to blow up someday? I'd guess they'd say we dare not fall in love with this old world, for it will be gone in a wisk!

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