From: Bluejay (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: taxpayers continue to suffer
Date: 2003-02-02 08:15:19 PST
To all the people who still want to explore space:
Do so with your own funds. Let private corporations come up with the
billions upon billions of dollars needed to fund and complete the ISS.
Trillions of U.S. taxpayer money has been wasted so far. Don't use the money
of hard-working Americans to realize these extravagant utopian dreams. It is
insane to spend this kind of money with wild abandon when there are more
important problems down on Earth that need attention.
I was fascinated with the space shuttle growing up but now as an adult my
views of NASA aren't as innocent and real life problems on the ground take
far more precedence.
From: Jay K (email@example.com)
Subject: Re: taxpayers continue to suffer
Date: 2003-02-04 05:21:10 PST
I actually agree with most of what you said.
> Do so with your own funds. Let private corporations come up with the
> billions upon billions of dollars needed to fund and complete the ISS.
Private corporations would love to do just that.
A good example is at http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=4204
also, check out the business plans of the teams at www.xprize.org
> Trillions of U.S. taxpayer money has been wasted so far. Don't use the money
> of hard-working Amercians to realize these extravagant utopian dreams.
>It is insane to spend this kind of money with wild abandon when there are
>more important problems down on Earth that need attention.
In a way, I agree with this. NASA shouldn't be a trucking company, it
should be our R&D and allow private enterprise to fairly compete.
We've been down this road before. Lewis and Clark explored the
American West, private citizens started going there, government adds the
pony express as a support service, gold rush and other opportunities
cause private expansion and robust access to be developed (railroads)
Same for the airlines, as the government's airmail service was enough
support to attract private development of better airplanes.
Some of the problems are that NASA and other government agencies have
sabotaged private enterprise, How can a private company compete
against entrenched bureaucracies trying to protect their powerbase?
IGNORING spin-offs we can easily see DIRECT benefits from space, that
likely wouldn't have ever started with private industry. Weather and
communication satellites, GPS systems (although the French did blow up
Geostar, a similar private attempt at GPS), Radar and other earth
sensing systems are the most visible ones that helps you every day ON
Men on Mars, colonies on the Moon, homes floating in space may be
utopian dreams that the government should not be spending tax money to
However, paving the way to enable *us* to develop our dreams *is* an
appropriate use of tax funds.
We dream of fast travel across the US, so a highway system is built
and we supply the cars. We dream of living free of disease, so the NIH
funds basic research which private companies use to make drugs.
As a civilization, we have decided to use some of our taxes to fund
things that we don't *need* to live, but does define us as a culture.
Grants to artists of all types, museums to give us access to art,
public art on our city streets, statues and memorials to honor our
heroes, libraries to preserve and share our writings and ideas. Cities
use our funds to build sports stadiums, and to clean up after parades.
While there's no reason we need patches of green in the middle of
prime real estate, we have a parks department to care for them.
Religion is important enough to us that we forego billions of dollars
of taxes so it can flourish.
While I may think spending billions on sports is insane, and you think
the same of space exploration, there are enough people who think that
sports, art, space, statues etc. are vital to our culture and deserve
our collective support.
I think that for the same reasons we support art and science and
sports etc., we should be supporting space exploration, so I support
that aspect of NASA.
The parts that are pork barrel, and exists mainly because large
government agencies rarely dissolve are what I don't support, and kind
of agree with you about.