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NASA Outreach to be cancelled due to sequester

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#26 Doc Willie

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:29 AM

Good grief, people, perspective, please . . . the cuts in question amount to approximately 2.6 percent of budget. No one anywhere is talking about closing down the whole shebang.

No, they are talking about closing ALL of the outreach programs. That all of NASA is less then 1% of the Federal budget is what makes it absurd.

#27 MikeBOKC

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:50 AM

By whole shebang I mean the entire federal government as referred to above. Of course some individual programs within individual agencies will be shuttered. It has happened before and will happen again at city, state and federal levels during times of austerity. The world has not ended, and I suspect local clubs, who do the most outreach by far already, will easily pick up the slack. I repeat: sky not falling, world not ending, urchins not starving, granny not hurled into gutter, etc.

#28 Doc Willie

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:34 AM

But one outreach program almost being shut down due to furloughs, plus the NASA cutoff.
Makes one wonder how many other charities will suffer due to furloughs, layoffs, and cutbacks.

#29 Joe F Gafford

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 12:21 PM

We all suffer. I have done some outreach in the National Parks. I did 3 nights nearly 2 years ago at Bryce Canyon. The little public star parties they held easily attracted 1000+ people nightly, about 60% of them foreigners. A positive international effort without really trying. :bawling:

Joe

#30 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 10:06 AM

Well, I need to chime in on this and to clarify some things.

Yes, the cuts only amount to 2.6% and yes there is LOTS of government waste. I know, I work with the government. However, it is not being treated as a 2.6% cut. It is being done to make maximum pain - all for politics (Repubs and Dems).

For example, there are many ways the DoD can cut their budget (lots of places to trim - trust me). Instead they are protecting many key programs and furloughing ALL civilian workers. If the project is fully funded, doesn't matter they are furloughed; funds are there, they just are furloughing people.

Bottom line, protected programs are fine (which can be good or bad programs), but then there are across the board cuts which amount to a significant hit.

BTW, my meetings on the Hill shows there is significant support on both sides for the cuts - nothing is being done to stop it. Do they share your pain? Yes. Will they say it is bad? Yes. Will they do something about it? No.

I do think in the end reasonable cuts will happen, and things will be less drastic. But this will not likely settle down until 2014.

In the meantime we can all do our part in the outreach and education department. Both time and/or Money. Through our clubs, Scouting, and who knows through companies like REI, SpaceX or my firm (we are expanding outreach and funding on our end).

#31 Starhawk

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 01:53 AM

Already all air shows have been canceled. I was looking forward to taking my kids to see the Thunderbirds and see various active aircraft and meet their crews. Yeah, I know someone will scoff about these "Extravagances" or claim it's big government or use some other trendy buzzwords, but I disagree. These are enrichment to all of our lives. But it's also a 9.5% cut to defense. And the air shows aren't a major line item.

Could the country do less? Sure. It's just there's no bottom to that. Everyone can name one or two things they don't use at the moment they don't think they would personally miss. If We could call home the navy, disband the army, ground the air force, shutter NASA, forget about educating the next generation, sell off everything, abandon our own fellow citizens including our own grandparents, and shut down fire departments and police forces. All of these would have some constituencies feeling they hadn't lost anything. And it's really easy to call anything I'm not using "Waste" in an attempt to belittle the need for it. City dwellers might imagine no one really needed the USDA, rural dwellers may like the idea of not subsidizing any number of programs which primarily help cities. Eventually it would be tempered by losing things they dearly needed. What's left? What is that place, and why would anyone want to live there?

If that really sounded good to anyone, everyone in the world would be trying to emigrate to a failed state where no one would be asking for taxes and no services of any sort exist.

Democracy means if I want other people to support what I need, but they don't care so much about, then I have to be willing to support things they need, but I may not care much about. It's a two way street, and it always was.

What's really strange to me is anyone saying this out to be a political issue. If we make it impossible to make decisions, how can anyone call that politics or claim someone is winning?

-Rich

By whole shebang I mean the entire federal government as referred to above. Of course some individual programs within individual agencies will be shuttered. It has happened before and will happen again at city, state and federal levels during times of austerity. The world has not ended, and I suspect local clubs, who do the most outreach by far already, will easily pick up the slack. I repeat: sky not falling, world not ending, urchins not starving, granny not hurled into gutter, etc.



#32 Astrosetz

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:32 AM

Very well said, Starhawk.

If NASA suspends outreach, I fear it will lead to even less funding. Out of sight, out of mind.

#33 derangedhermit

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 02:04 PM

It is being done to make maximum pain - all for politics (Repubs and Dems).


This. It is simply the bureaucracy protecting itself by making any reduction in its size (or lack of satisfactory increase in size) as painful as possible to the politicians and, especially, the citizens. I view it as poor behavior, but human organizations of any size rarely act in any other way.

#34 Starlon

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

For many years now, all we see is cut.. cut.. cut. We have lost our manned space capability, we dumped the shuttle without a replacement, Hubble is left to fall apart - no way to get up there. We trashed what was human-kinds dream of the ages - the ability to visit another celestial body, the Moon. I cannot think of any other nation that would have just trashed their very highest level equipment, technicians, infrastructure - dumped. I think back to our SSC also. So much has gone that many people alive today don't realize the slow undoing of America. Little by little.. it is all gone. This crosses all political parties, it is beyond that.

#35 ColoHank

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:45 AM

This is all very disturbing to me. But what confuses me is this: if the NPS has insufficient resources to maintain levels of staffing, maintenance and facilities at parks already in the system, why are they designating new parks and increasing resources for them? For example, Pinnacles National Monument just became a full blown National Park.



It doesn't cost any more to manage a national park than it does a national monument. Both categories operate under identical policies and regulations. The only legal distinction between them is that monuments can be established by a Presidential Proclamation, whereas parks must be established by an Act of Congress. Traditionally, the distinction also has been meritorious. Thus, monuments are supposedly established to celebrate one dominate resource theme or value (the archetype is Devils Tower), whereas parks are recognized for multiple and more diverse resource themes and values (the archetype is Yellowstone). So, think of a national monument as an accomplished soloist and a national park as a full orchestra and chorus.

And yes, the traditional distinctions have been ignored, so that some national parks (like Hot Springs, for example) probably should be redesignated as monuments or historic areas, and some monuments, (like Dinosaur, for example) are so large and diverse that they should be parks. A couple of less worthy national parks (Platte and Sullys Hill) have even been dis-established or absorbed into other areas.

More than likely, some local Chamber of Commerce or other group with visions of sugarplums dancing in its collective head petitioned a representative or Senator to introduce legislation to redesignate Pinnacles from a monument to a park in the belief that it would attract more tourists and generate additional hospitality revenues. The politicos love stuff like that because it's cheap and they can bask in the glory ("Wow, maybe I'll get a grove of trees or a rock formation or a bridge named after me").

The effect is a proliferation of new parks whose redesignation may be legislated, but which do not measure up in any sense with the real crown jewels in the National Park System like Yellowstone, Great Smokys, Grand Canyon, or Yosemite.

Sadly, boosters may be right about increased tourism revenues over the short run, but on the flip-side, it doesn't take long for the traveling public to detect a fraud, and negative publicity, even via word-of-mouth, is, well, negative.

Little areas like Pinnacles, Arches, Great Sand Dunes, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison were first-rate national monuments, but in the grand scheme of things, they may be destined to earn reputations as second-rate national parks. Efforts are also underway to redesignated spectacular little Colorado National Monument (in my backyard) a national park, though, at only 20,450 acres, it is less than one percent the size of Yellowstone and conspicuously less diverse.

Too bad we can't all agree that some bottom lines shouldn't have dollar signs in front of them.

#36 Joad

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 12:55 PM

Though I am rather fond of Pinnacles (used to hike and climb there many years ago), I agree that it should have remained a Monument. It is only 24,512 acres, but, more importantly, I worry that Park status will require an expanded infrastructure for cars, campgrounds, sources of food, etc. Industrial tourism, as Edward Abbey called it, isn't suited for Pinnacles. But, then, I doubt that masses of people will actually want to go there. For one thing, to see it at all, one has to walk.

#37 Littlegreenman

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:13 PM

A long time ago, I know cause the car I was driving was 3 cars ago (and a car year equals about 9 human years, or 1.27 dog years years...) I stopped in Pinnacles National Monument. It was early morning. Strolling along the path from the parking lot I encountered quite a few snakes sunning themselves on the path. They all scooted back under shrubs as I got within 10 yards or so. Didn't hear any rattles.

An hours or so later I was in a cave. It took a while to reach a totally dark spot, and I turned off my flashlight and just sat there on a rock.

Highly recommended.

Littlegreenman

#38 Joe F Gafford

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:56 PM

My club has in the past has received materials from NASA. This was an on/off thing that has been happening. We would get a slew of films, slides, VCR videos, DVDs, transparencies, science kits for demonstrations, posters, handout freebies and signage from them in clusters. This was not constant. It would be years before something for outreach for our club would come in from NASA. Usually we had to re-establish contact through a different channel every time. Just another hiccup.

Joe

#39 Doc Willie

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:19 AM

Agree on NASA's inconsistency on sending things. The Night Sky Network encourages you to request things for your outreach event, then says it may take 8 weeks to get you the stuff. Part of the problem is that some of the materials come from different programs, all with their own procedures and timeline.

That being said, late is better than nothing, which is where we appear to be headed.

#40 Raginar

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:55 AM

Jim,

I think they're more like 300 million dollar fighters now. The B-model can't take off because they didn't design the thrust vectoring system (SVTOL) appropriately. The A-model is experiencing issues with composites.

I still haven't seen one flying in our current conflicts.

Chris






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