NASA's Orion launch a success: "There's your new spacecraft, America!"

I didn’t catch that. Very interesting. I just got back from Hawaii yesterday and met a few Aussies there. They were stunned at how the US operates. According to them, in Australia, min wage is $9.00p/h until you hit 18, then it’s $17 p/h. Medical is free as is all education including college. You get 1 month paid vacation after your first year of employment, and 6 months after 20 years (WTF?). This all presumes they weren’t all screwing with me. If they were being honest, then we Americans really accept the yoke of serfdom. I found those I met to be pretty intelligent no matter how much they spend on schooling.

I think we can all presume that spending is just one part of our education problem. There are many other factors, such as whether a society is homogenized or not, the quality of teaching, etc. We in the US do face problems that can’t be totally fixed by spending, although (IMO) spending is needed to offset those issues.

I wish. Where NASA was in the 70’s was with a budget that was more than 1 percent of the national budget. Today NASA’s budget is 0.4 percent of the budget. Also, don’t be confused with thinking of capsules as an inferior technology simply because we used them 40 plus years ago. Capsules are the safest, and only way at the moment to get beyond low earth orbit.

Capsules mean we aren’t stuck going in circles for another 30 years. It means we can get out there, and explore.

Of course, Orion isn’t the exploration vehicle. That is just the ride beyond low earth orbit, we still need to develop our ride to Mars. Since Orion just wont cut it for a trip to Mars by it self. That would require something else. Possibly built in space, so again an increase in NASA’s budget would be needed.


I wouldn’t praise Australians too much. They did vote for Tony Abbot who is in the process of wrecking all of that.


Then how can you call for NASA’s spending to be cut?

NASA’s budget is at present 0.5% of the US budget. If it was cut tomorrow the funds wouldn’t be earmarked for the education budget, it would presumably be distributed amongst everybody else, at around 0.5% of the individual departments. Assuming the Pentagon or some other heavyweight didn’t claim them. Even if the Education department got all the money, it would only represent a 12.5% increase, which wouldn’t solve the problems the US has with its education system.


Don’t get me wrong. I like Apollo. By Apollo 17 it was a good, proven vehicle. Skylab (or a proper wet lab) provided a cruise stage which could have flown to a near earth asteroid or done a Mars flyby. The modular architecture meant that you could develop a stretched service module for long missions, and retain all interfaces to the command module. I am just sorry (as you imply) that we have come to this point by going the long way around.

The ISS is testing technology which could be used in an interplanetary cruise stage. Stuff like how to keep your life support and water recycling working for long enough.

What we don’t have is the equivalent of an LM for Mars. It needs an aerodynamic lander, and probably resource utilisation from the surface. I think an asteroid mission should be next. Apollo 13 validated the earth-moon transit. Made it safer. This needs to be done for a mission of around 100 days.


Russian cosmism.

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I suspect that’s probably what’s known as Long Service Leave. It’s a one-off (rather than repeating every year) ‘thank you’ for loyalty. 6 months does seem a bit long though - they didn’t say 6-weeks?

Long service leave is generally three months after 10 to 15 years, so six months after 20 is legit.

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Exactly what I thought too…they need to pass a collection plate


And here I thought that 3 weeks of vacay in my fifth full year (as opposed to after my fifth full year) was a pretty good thing.

I got a 75% payrise when moving from the UK to the US, but when you factor in having to put three times as much into a 401K as I did into a defined benefit pension scheme, 5% longer hours, a reduction in days off from 26 to 10 (not even considering bank holidays…), free at the point of use NHS vs. Healthcare deductibles and limited coverage (including a fucking bill for a bloody ambulance this year…)…


The Aussies that mentioned the 6 month paid didn’t say ‘one off’, nor did they correct their statement when I quizzed them. I got the impression that paid vacations were on a sliding scale, but have to admit that I found the 6 months hard to believe. Clearly in the US they’d be out on their ear after 5 years no matter how good they were. BTW, they were two Aussie bank managers.

I’m for any ‘non-essential’ spending cuts to go towards education as i think it’s more important than walking around on another planet decades from now. As an old manager once told me 'Worry about today and let tomorrow worry about itself." Mars will still be there eons from now, I can’t say the same for the next generation here in the US. However, given my 'druthers, I’d rather cut the $1 Trillion+ that we squander on ‘Defense’ each year.

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I’m pretty sure if NASA was killed off tomorrow it would be squandered rather than utilized as well. I’m sure it would fund a tax credit for another horse for the Romneys and a 3rd Ferrari for the Walmart heirs.


Does education cost more than it ever has? Has it ever even cost anything, besides effort? Tuition in schools can be costly, but it doesn’t cost anything to learn.

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We heard you like rockets so we put some rockets on your rocket.


I’m watching launch with the sound track of the Right Stuff playing in the back ground. I have chills. This is the America I want. GO ORION!





We get worse results than anywhere in the world? The incredible stupidity of that comment not withstanding, no, we don’t.

We’re the third largest population in the world yet have a 99%+ literacy rate. If our education system is such shite, why does the percentage of our population that graduates university exceed those of the UK, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland (and Australia and New Zealand)? Almost every state in our country (50) has an excellent state university. Our top universities are stellar by any international standard, and we have more than anywhere else. As a result of all this, we do things like the Orion program.

The real problem with our education system isn’t that it’s the worst, it’s that it could be a lot better. There’s an important difference.