What would I do with $20,000,000,000?

By Phil Plait | January 8, 2009 3:37 pm

Update (20:00 MT): I am now at nearly 1200! I love me my BABloggees!

When I was interviewed on The Takeaway last week, I was asked what I’d do with NASA were Obama to pick me to run it. I said I’d make sure programs were run on budget and on time. Once the various programs proved they could do it, I’d open up the budget and see what NASA could really do.

Of course, in the pre-interview, when they asked me the same question, I said I’d embezzle several billion dollars and disappear. I’m hard to pin down.

Well, maybe I’ll get my chance. An anonymous source — she knows who she is — informed me that informally, I’m in the running to be the next NASA Administrator. And by informal, I mean really informal: a website has been set up to allow people to nominate and vote for people they’d like to see run the space agency.

As I write this, it’s an uphill battle. Pete Worden has over 300 votes, and my friend Alan Stern has 100+. I have 14.

The thing is, Wil Wheaton has 23! CURSE YOU, WIL WHEATON!

You took me down once, Wil, but this attempt at a second smackdown SHALL NOT STAND. Flying a starship does not give you the necessary background to run the agency, nor should you accept. How many times did Picard turn down a post at Starfleet Command? And look what happened to Kirk when he took a post there: he gained twenty kilos and lost his hair.

Wil: we like you with hair, whereas I have nothing to lose. The only honorable action is for you to withdraw and give your votes to me. I’ll show that Worden a thing or two.

… and if you do, I’ll shave a nice couple of hundred mil off the top of my embezzlement. How many velvet paintings could you commission for that?

Pic of Wil and me from A.Real.Girl’s Flickr pics. Again, my thanks to My Anonymous NASA Mole.


Comments (109)

  1. Davidlpf

    I would take a few million.

  2. DrFlimmer

    Just give me ONE million and I am happy with it 😉

    btw: 75 votes

  3. Jake

    I guess NASA and the JREF are basically the same thing.

    Well, they are both in Florida, so the commute wouldn’t be as bad from Bolder.

  4. Jake
  5. Alice

    The sock in that picture is the best part you guys.

  6. 1. Build a wonderful home with observatory.
    2. Buy a space shuttle (42 million + shipping (hopefully they deliver outside the US))
    3. Place it in the garden where I can look at it when I go to work.
    4. Quit work, look at it all the time.

  7. Ivy Nelson-Groves

    When last I looked Phil was up to 163 votes. Your loyal minions are speaking!!

  8. Spunk-Monkey

    That was fast. You’re even higher-voted than Rick Astley.

    For my votes, that will be $2 million. And a Jovian moon.

  9. heh, you’re now 2nd place and closing the gap, yes, have some.

  10. John

    wesley crusher has been rick rolled….

  11. Sean

    The lead has been taken, 332 to 323.

  12. Adrian Lopez

    As I write this, you’re ahead of everybody else.

    Unless PZ starts a campaign in support of Wil Wheaton, you actually have a chance. 😉

  13. John Powell

    You and Wil are beating Colbert – until he get’s on his show tonight!

    BA – 375
    WW – 105
    SC – 51

  14. wil

    I would LOVE to fight you for this, Phil, but I’m currently locked in mortal combat with Britney Spears for the coveted title of Best Celebrity Blogger in the Weblog Awards.

    I just don’t have the armies to fight on two fronts at the moment, so I concede this battle to you.

    …until I turn in cards. When I turn in cards, you’d better hope you’re holding all Asia.

  15. Wow… you’re in the lead now, but I suddenly feel sorry for Wil! Although Tyson’s pretty well qualified for the job.

  16. Alan French

    We listened, and your lead is increasing….

  17. defectiverobot

    Wow, you’re at 477 now. You should kiss Dr. Myer’s feet and have him send his minions over to the poll to vote for you. You’d probably top out in the billions.

  18. JoeSmithCA

    mortal combat with Britney Spears. Alright, I’m taking Wil off my celeb blog list and digging up Tim Thomerson (if he has one).

  19. Hello Pity

    You now have more than Worden & Stern combined. Let’s go for Wheaton too.

    The Mole

  20. SLC

    I voted for Bob Park. Boy, that would sure get Dr. Plaits attention if President Obama nominated him.

  21. Davidlpf

    Well Wil is also duking it out with Brea Grant and Alyssa Milano. Ooohhh how I feel for poor old Wil.

  22. Phil, if you need a Chief Engineer Officer, count me in!

    *winks and giggles*



  23. Be fair. Wil Wheaton has more experience in space than you do. I can’t imagine why Patrick Stewart isn’t in the running.

  24. Bill

    You have lunch with Alan Stern – once – and suddenly he is your “friend”?

  25. Hello Pity

    You now have more than Stern, Worden & Wheaton combined. Just remember you pals, and save a spot on the 7th floor for me.

  26. Harry of Oztrailya

    Heh. I voted tBA and Colbert 😛

  27. One million in the bank – the interest alone would keep me afloat.

  28. Tig

    Should I feel bad that I hedged my bets and voted for both Phil and Wil? Not that I expect Wil to win, but when he becomes Supreme Emperor of Earth I, for one, will welcome our new Starfleet trained overlord.

    (j/k, except for the votes)

  29. Kelfazin

    Heh, you’re sitting at 802 right now. :) Next highest is Pete Worden at 366.

  30. BMcP

    I just want to know what the hell is with that upside down mannequin leg with the thigh high sock is about in the picture. O_o

  31. Your way up at 908 now. Whoopin’ ass!

  32. TigerHunter

    I voted for both Phil and Stephen Colbert. Good thing they allow splitting, otherwise it would have been a really tough choice.

  33. El Jefe

    If it makes a difference I voted for Phil (more than once) I’m thinking he’d be a great NASA head; to wit: (and I’m a conservative:)
    a. Phil knows what needs doing
    b. He’d get us there cost-effectively( recall Mars Polar Explorer)
    c. He uses great graphics
    d. He won’t let the dream die
    e. Wil doesn’t have the “belly effect” Brit does; he’ll be tied up for awhile

  34. 926 and well in the lead. I think we should get behind Rick and roll him to the top – 115 now.

  35. 978 votes. If you become administrator can I become your loyal coffee boy / office gopher? (BSE Aerospace engineering, MS physics sudent)

  36. IVAN3MAN

    Votes cast, at the time of writing this:

    Phil Plait: 978
    Neil DeGrass Tyson: 208
    Wil Wheaton: 203

  37. JackC

    The heck with the voting. I hate hearing that you were interviewed on one of the VERY few Public Radio shows I simply cannot stand to listen to. I DO like saying “Adaora Udoji” though….


  38. IVAN3MAN

    Phil Plait: 1003
    Neil DeGrass Tyson: 226
    Wil Wheaton: 203
    Rick Astley: 122 (WTF?!)

  39. JoeSmithCA

    Well, you won this one easily :) For reason I suspect Charles Bolden is more likely to be hired. However, hey, maybe Obama will see this and decide to buy your book. My question is would you trade autographs with President-Elect Obama? :)

  40. Rick Astley would NOT let you down.

  41. Cameron

    Steve Squyres: 54
    Stephen Colbert: 94
    Sally Ride: 109
    Mike Griffin: 122
    Rick Astley: 125 (!)
    Wil Wheaton: 229 (ha)
    Neil deGrass Tyson: 247
    Phil: 1096 (!!!)

  42. Davidlpf

    @IVAN3MAN, somebody wants to rickroll NASA.

  43. chief

    What is wil originally holding that is covered by the manual, could it be a copy of your book. btw. I have both of the books shown so can I cast a vote for myself to head NASA. oops. I’m Canadian, no dice. If it’s any consolation. I’d vote for you for NASA, or how about JPL.

  44. Charles Boyer

    You can be the Strong Arm, chief. Canada is great at making arms for space.

  45. And since it’s truly just a popularity contest, now you’ve rocketed to the top!

    I must admit that I know nothing about whether you’re capable of navigating politics, so it’s a good thing that the position isn’t *really* a popularity contest. :) Not that that stops other positions though…

  46. Gary Ansorge

    As of 10:23 pm, EST you have 1205 votes and counting,,,

    You have a LOT of admirers,,,(doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy).

    GAry 7

  47. Ha I haven’t seen a poll squashed like that since the last Pharyngula poll mobbing

  48. Adrian Lopez

    They spelled Neil Degrasse’s name as Neil DeGrass — which is just one word away from Moe DeGrass.

  49. moof

    Strong lead Phil, but watch out — the newest entry, Andy Ihnatko is tearing up the charts.

  50. IVAN3MAN

    @ Adrian Lopez,

    I’ve just checked with Wikipedia and the correct spelling of that man’s name is: Neil deGrasse Tyson (with a lower-case “de” prefix).

  51. Adrian Lopez

    You’re right. Serves me right for making fun of other people’s spellinh. :)

  52. IVAN3MAN

    Votes cast so far:

    Phil Plait: 1405
    Pete Worden: 444
    Wil Wheaton: 344 ( 👿 )
    Neil deGrasse Tyson: 330
    Andy Ihnatko: 249 ( ❓ )
    Alan Stern: 154
    Rick Astley: 148 ( :roll: )

    For the record, Phil Plait, I gave you 3 votes.

    So, when do I get my free (signed) copy of Death From The Skies!, then? 😉

  53. Wil’s the only one in the top 4 without a PhD! Way to go!

  54. You can always hire Wil as official spokesperson.

  55. Davidlpf

    Well wheres a wil there is a way.

  56. CR

    The Starfleet Tech Manual and the Space Shuttle Operator’s Manual? I have BOTH of those books (including first & revised editions of the SSOM), so does that mean that I could get into this race?
    What else? I’ve watched Star Trek (Well, I used to, long ago…) and I’ve read Phil’s book & this blog. Man, this is tough, I could go either direction in my voting, but as a potential candidate, I’m a perfect synthesis of both sides! Talk about reaching across the aisle! Vote for ME!

    Wow, this has to be the most ridiculous post I’ve ever made here…

  57. Dave Hall

    I’ll bet Wil would know that Marketplace was kidding when they did the story on astrology as a means to predict the economy.

  58. edgineer

    did anyone notice the gestalt in the picture? (book+t-shirt/armpit+thing in the background+silver board)

  59. Grand Lunar

    Oh man, I haven’t seen “The Space Shuttle Operator’s Manual” in years! I loved that!

    I know I may get flak for this, but if I was NASA admin, I’d use the Direct 2.0 program instead of making the Ares 1 and Ares 5.

  60. I think John Scalzi commissioned the velevt painting, actually. Just sayin’…

  61. Good thing Wil spoke up and would prefer help taking Britney Spears down, ’cause my head was about to asplode trying to decide which of you to vote for!

  62. Chris G

    Glad to see you’re ahead of Rick Astley!

  63. pumpkinpie

    Sorry Phil….I think you’d do a great job but I had to show Rick Astley some love.

  64. Cheyenne

    Does anybody know how I can hack into that intertoobs poll to get Karen Nyberg on there?

    If I can’ t I guess I’m going with Squyres. That dude has delivered the goods!

  65. Chris J

    I’m just glad to see I’m not the only person that reads Phil, and has both of those books. When I voted today, phil was over 2300.

  66. bmgibben

    I was sad I could only vote for you with 3 votes instead of all 10. I have no idea if you would be the right man for the job since I am not intimately versed with your job experience. But from what ideals I can see from your writing and opinions, it is clear you have the right ideas and mindset to do a wonderfully great job if you were put in charge of NASA. I wish there were more people with your clarity of mind and knowledge of reality in charge in this world.

  67. You may end up NASA Administrator Phil but in the important poll, the weblog awards, it appears you’re going down. So is PZ btw.

  68. 2362 and counting hehehe

    Sorry Weasley Crusher… I’d preffer to cast a vote on Deanna instead of you…

  69. Wow. Phil’s crushing…

    Given the Gupta (potential?) choice for Surgeon General, who knows what can happen?

  70. Charles Kennel maybe? A guy that could re-focus NASA back to scientific discovery?

    Since everybody said Bush was anti-science Obama could definitely continue to prove his chops by going with yet another qualified scientist in charge of a major agency of the Gov’t (after already getting Chu and Holdren).

  71. K

    According to numerous recent Goverment Accountability Office (GAO) reports NASA:

    – Cannot identify where the funds it spends go
    – Sometimes its accounting is so deficient it is impossible to audit
    – The managerial ranks lack the ability to estimate costs
    – The managerial ranks do not value performance or results

    Don’t take my word for it, look up the following GAO reports:



    In other words, if Phil wants to embezzle a proportion of the funds indicated, he’ll have no trouble whatsoever if given the chance. As for the remark:

    “…I’d make sure programs were run on budget and on time … I’d open up the budget and see what NASA could really do.”

    That’s a noble sentiment, but, unfortunately, absolutely impossible to accomplish with the systems, personnel and entrenched culture that’s calcified over the years.

    The question that ought to be asked is what the Obama Administration might do to fix that fossilizing burearcracy. The opportunity costs squandered on fraud, waste & inefficiency are staggering. Scrapping NASA and creating a new organization (along the lines of the NACA to NASA transition) might be a minimum necessary to create some semblance of performane & results for the value expended.

  72. BigBob

    “Unless PZ starts a campaign in support of Wil Wheaton, you actually have a chance”.

    Think of the comedy potential if PZ entered himself and won (in a ‘shaft the poll’ stylee fashion). No, no that wouldn’t be funny at all.
    By the way, did they sell many ooms?

  73. Bill

    One thing is clear from the picture: people who cannot grow beards should not try.

  74. Durand

    2,571 votes 😀 Seems like we can vote even if we aren’t from the USA. Cool.

  75. Bill S

    I voted for, Wil, Sorry! But you have a 2 : 1 lead as I type this.

  76. Joe Meils

    Not Tyson, please! I don’t like that SETI mocking, Pluto hating doof!

  77. rob

    Wil, don’t underestimate Phil. he is not likely to fall victim to one of the classic blunders, getting involved in a land war in Asia. but if you turn in your cards, maybe you could force him all the way down to Western Australia!

  78. John Powell

    You’re in Phil, at least until Colbert mobilizes his Nation…

  79. Tristan Noel

    This is troubling. If Rick Astley were to win, Nasa would be… Probably better off, actually. Maybe that was his goal from the start? Maybe “Never gonna give you up” was written about space?

    We can dream.

  80. BMcP

    I voted for both Phil and Wil, proving that Internet poll voting is the only way to go! :)

  81. Sili

    An astronomical pharyngulation? You’re learning, young padawan.

  82. Old Muley

    OK, Phil, Wil and Seth got my votes. Just be sure to remember all us “little people” once you get to Washington.

  83. Nud,

    I gave you and Chuck Norris 3 points

    1. 2,942 votes – phil plait O.o
    2. 824 votes – Wil Wheaton
    I hope you didnt sell your soul for this, ahwell ,you dont believe in the devil so no one cares ^^

  84. Jeffersonian

    “I said I’d embezzle several billion dollars and disappear.”

    Yeah, you’d “disappear” alright.

  85. Surely you’d have to skim a bit off the top of that pot for a bit of space tourism…?

  86. Quiet Desperation

    I’d develop orbital industries with the best projected prospects to turn a profit (solar energy, maybe). There would be heavy partnerships with private companies. NASA could provide the heavy lifting (literally) to some of the smaller efforts. Hopefully we’d see private space efforts based on what to do *after* you get into space, rather than just working the launch phase.

    Once those are building, I’d go down the list as new technologies ands methods were spawned by the existing efforts that increased profit potential of the lower ranked industries. Any ground applications would be licensed at a fair rate.

    My aim would be to build at least a semi-self supporting space program. A partnership between the public and private sector that would allow money to be made (and many high tech jobs) and pure science efforts. Once we reach a certain critical mass, we could start doing pure research stuff. People could piggyback science efforts using the established space infrastructure. It’s something a university could potentially afford.

  87. Zarimus

    I’d open up new departments to research advanced concepts in rocket propulsion, radiation shielding, life support and other issues that need big bucks. NASA would license these technologies to commercial interests. NASA would be a facilitator for private industry, developing the tools needed for them to prosper. Then I’d quietly shut down all the bloated, poorly run in-house projects. I’d keep the research, probe and science half of NASA going but would mostly fly those projects on commercial rockets. SpaceX, I’m looking in your direction here.

    So to summarize: science and R&D only. Everything else gets the chop.

  88. Trebuchet

    BA, I cast three of my allowed ten votes for you and then decided to look at this at least semi-seriously. I have a couple of questions about how you’d run NASA that perhaps you could address in another blog.

    1. You said “I’d make sure programs were run on budget and on time.” A laudable goal, one which I’m sure has been held by every previous NASA administrator and pretty much all other bureaucrats. None of them succeed. What are your ideas for actually achieving something close to this, specifically at NASA?

    2. How would you address the sadly neglected first “A” in NASA? (As you might guess, I work on airplanes for a living!) My thought is that it should be split off into a separate agency so it wouldn’t get sucked dry by continuing ISS overruns. NASA could still be “NASA” if you change the first “A” to “Astronomy”.

    3. And what would you do about the ISS, and coming lack of access to same?

  89. Quiet Desperation

    Not to mention most budgets for these sorts of things are, at best, forecasts. It is *impossible* to foresee every possible glitch when engineering something totally new and as complex as a space mission. It’s just not going to happen.

  90. Trebuchet, in fact when Alan Stern was at NASA he was able to rein in a few projects. It can be done, but it’s tough.

  91. Steven C. Raine

    Your Ideas :

    1 How many votes?
    Sally Ride [BA, BS, MS, PhD]
    3 How many votes?
    Alan Stern [BS, PhD]
    2 How many votes?
    phil plait
    1 How many votes?
    Gene Cernan
    3 How many votes?
    Dr. Robert Zubrin

    Zubrin for Mars, Alan Stern for Pluto & Phil for well loving this blog

    was how I’ve voted. (I think – stuffing around for ages afterwards ..)

    But then I tried to nominate John Glenn – the first Amercian to orbit the Earth and the oldest astronaut so far with the space shuttle, who I reckon still has the right stuff toleadand inspire and a good brain yet. Plus Glenn also served in the Congress / Senate & ran for US president so has political experience too.

    Unfortunately the wretched diabolical computer / website thingy didn’t seem able to obey my commands and while I tried to change my vote (nominate Glenn with 2 votes instead of my 1 pt-ers Sally Ride and Gene Cernan ..) I couldn’t manage it for some weird reason – can’t seem to get it to change.

    I’ve emailed the support folks there & all, I’ve even signed up specially for this, but who knows if this’ll do anything.

    Anyone want to do me a big favour and see if they can get John Glenn (the original astronaut Mercury Seven, etc .. He was a Colonel but got promoted to ???) nominated too?

  92. Steven C. Raine

    Joe Meils said on January 9th, 2009 at 9:53 am :

    “Not Tyson, please! I don’t like that SETI mocking, Pluto hating doof!”

    Agreed. I can’t stand Neil-De-Gassy-Tyson & I think he’s got things badly wrong over Pluto.

    That’s why I voted sstrongly for Alan Stern -with luck he’d insist NASA call Pluto what it is – a planet – and tell the IAU where to go! 😉

    Plus I think Alan Sternis a smart and good bloke with experience in running space programs (go NewHorizons!) who would make a very wise choice.

    RobertZubrin is aman witharealplan for landingonMars too – he’s got a positive, well-thought-out vision already & spekas very well and heads his own organisation and I’d love to see him given the chance to put his ideas into practice.

    Phil Plait & John Glenn I’ve already discussed. I love the BA blog & think Phil’s got some good ideas so, yes. Actually I’d kinda hate to lose reading him here because he gets promoted to NASA-boss but guess I can’t be too-oo selfish .. 😉

    John Glenn is a genuine hero with a great minds experience in space and politics and I reckon still has that Right Stuff! 😉

    That’s why I’d vote Zubrin -3, Stern-3, Plait-2, Glenn-2 – if Ionlycould it to work that way. :-(

  93. Typos corrected

    AAaaarrrrrgghh!!! Typos! Whgen’s thsiediting /preview thingy coming again? :-(

    Here’s thecorected verisonof the typo-riddne bit above :

    Plus I think Alan Stern is a smart and good bloke with experience in running space programs (go NewHorizons!) who would make a very wise choice.

    Robert Zubrin is a man with a real plan for landing on Mars too – he’s got a positive, well-thought-out vision already. Zubrin speaks very well (saw that first-hand myself at a public lecture in Adelaide) and heads his own organisation and I’d love to see him given the chance to put his ideas into practice.

  94. Steven C. Raine

    If I were running NASA I’d try and get the same sorta funding that war gets – and put that money to much better use!

    Specifically I’d try and set a firm date for us to have manned missions to Mars (by 2020 -latest) and restelled ontheMon – with the first woman inthefirst mission back there -and some realscientists to start He3 mining and Farside Telescope building. I’d also see us send a manned mission to at least one if not more Near Earth Asteroids – Apophis, Cruithne and Icarus being my preferrred targets.

    I’d keep the shuttle flying until we’ve got something better – and make sure we worked fast and hard as hades to do so & I’d look at getting something major down to excite people about the ISS – which I’d rename and try to do more with.

    I’d also insist we keep sending spaceprobes to Mars, Pluto, Eris, to the Galilean and Saturnian moons and to the Ouranian and Neptunean systems also. There’d be a veritable production line of spaceprobes – many of them built along the same design but customised for specific missions.

    Oh & I’d insist NASA calls Pluto a planet and tells the IAU where to go on that issue too! 😉

    But most of all, I’d make sure money is spent on NASA on us going forwards into space in a way that benefits everyone rather than wasted on futile wars – and worse supporting the endless futile wars of Israel. When they came to me and said :

    ..”We need money to attack whichever neighbour is next on the Neo-con hitlist!”

    I’d tell ’em : “sorry -but we can’t afford that luxury – the money you want thrown into war’s has already been spent on better stuff that really works instaed!”

    Of course, I’d probably have to be President of the USA not just NASA to get that to happen but .. ah ..if only!

  95. Steven C. Raine

    *&&%%$$##@@$$!@!! typos. :-(


    Specifically I’d try and set a firm date for us to have manned missions to Mars (by 2020 -latest) and resettled on the Moon – with the first woman in the first mission back there – and some real scientists to start He3 mining and Farside Telescope building. I’d also see us send a manned mission to, at least one if not more, Near Earth Asteroids – Apophis, Cruithne and Icarus being my preferred targets.

  96. Steven C. Raine

    Still can’t get the wretched thing to allow me to nominate John Glenn – I’ve been trying to do so for ages.

    I’ve got 2 votes changed so I can, I’m registered, I’m typing in in the “I would like to nominate’ box – & when I click enter it just goes blank -it is so #@!@%$$#@!!!!@# frustrating!!!

    I’d like to use my 2 remaining votes to nominate John Glenn – the Mercury Seven astronaut who became the first American inorbit, the oldest astronaut so far and whogahs also runfor theUS presidnecyand sertved as a Senator so
    has lots of political experience too. I reckon he’s still got the “Right Stuff!”

    .. but I just can’t seem toget that useless flippin’ nomonation-web thingummy to work!

    Aaarrrggghhh! So infuriating. :-(

  97. Is that a “Right to Arm Bears” shirt. I am liking young Mr. Wheaton so much more than I ever cared for that cheesehead Wesley.

    I want to throw in a serious comment. I hope NASA makes the new moon mission a serious international effort. Why pay for it all ourselves when it could help foster international cooperation in other areas as well.

  98. GregInVancouver

    And my 3 votes makes it 3,704 followed by Neil deGrass Tyson with 899.

    Congratulations Phil!

  99. Steven C.Raine


    At last I’ve finally been able to do what I was trying to do for hours before ..

    John Glenn is nominated – now if he can only get more votes than that stuck-up Pluto-basher Tyson – to finish third behind Phil Plait, Robert Zubrin and Alan S. Stern – who all win in a three way tie! Well if Iwas writing the script … 😉

    2 votes
    John Glenn
    The first American to orbit the Earth as a member of the original “Mercury Seven” and then the oldest astronuat so far with the space shuttle, Glenn also has considerable political experience having served as Senator for many years and run for President. I reckon he still has that “Right Stuff” to lead and inspire us into the future!

    comment | by Astrostevo | created 1 minute ago

    How many votes?
    Alan Stern [BS, PhD]
    2 How many votes?
    phil plait
    3 How many votes?
    Dr. Robert Zubrin
    2 How many votes?
    John Glenn

  100. StevoR (SCR)

    Hmmm .. I’m awaiting moderation now – huh??

    One quick question if I’m allowed to post it* – when (if ever?) doe sthis poll thingummy close?


    * Frankly, I’m baffled. What have I said / done to be on the “awaiting mod” list?

  101. StevoR -Correcting

    That question correctly typed is of course :

    When (if ever?) does this poll thingummy close?

    Is there any specifically set closing date or just does it just keep going indefinately ..

    … & any idea when Obama *will* announce his preferred NASA boss?

  102. BTW. did y’all know John Glenn’s middle name is Herschel – as in the famous astronomer(s!)

    I didn’t until I checked his bio via Wikipedia – click on my name to visit it & see for yourselves .. :-)

  103. J.E. Turcotte

    20bil? Is that enough to build a ship and a set of probes that lasso a modest asteroid, mine it for materials, and reproduce more asteroid mining ships? Stepping stones to the stars, after all…

  104. merbrat

    Cute pic!
    Since two people asked, and no one answered…
    They seem to be standing in front of a Diesel Sweeties booth.
    Those are Red Robot socks.


  105. With $20,000,000,000 I would build a Tardis


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