In other NASA related news, the agency is at the center of yet another budgetary hearing and subsequent congressional debate. This happens so frequently that each individual instance has begun to meld into the next in my mind.
While I agree with Joe Shoer that NASA’s lack of an overarching goal provides fodder to the paralyzing funding conflicts, I think that much deeper there is something rotten in the state of NASA. This problem is highlighted by this quote from the SpacePolicyOnline article:
“He (Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) [Ben’s Note: Florida has many jobs and businesses bankrolled by NASA funding] tried to rally those in the room — mostly aerospace industry representatives — to fight for a higher NASA budget. “
To those with power, NASA is no longer about passionate pursuit of a goal (even if that goal was giving a big ‘up yours’ to the Soviets) it’s about money, who controls it, and where it goes.
An extremely-related-but-unrelated headline and article blurb from today’s NYT:
Farmers Say Bill’s Defeat Complicates Planning for Planting Season – The failure of the House to pass a new five-year farm bill has blindsided the agriculture industry, leaving it facing uncertainty, “the one thing you can’t have in this business.”
Things that should affect farmer’s planning for the planting season: the weather, the price of seed, anticipated crop prices. Things that should affect our ability to go to space: the weather, physics, technological advances. Things that shouldn’t affect either of those things: congressional quibbling.