Brief interview on WGN radio about new LRO pix

By Phil Plait | September 7, 2011 3:08 pm

I was interviewed by WGN radio host Mike McConnell this morning about the new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter pictures of the Apollo landing sites that were released yesterday. The interview is online, or you can grab the file directly.

We talked about why Hubble can’t see the landing site hardware, how the astronauts walked on the Moon, why the flags may no longer be there, why Moon Hoax stuff is silly, and so on. I had a funny moment of confusion when I was trying to count how many people had walked on the Moon, but that was quickly resolved. All in all it was a fun conversation, and I’m impressed with McConnell’s knowledge of Apollo. It’s always nice to talk to another Apollo fan!


Related posts:

- LRO spots Apollo landing sites in high res
- LRO spots Apollo 12 footsteps
- One Giant Leap seen again
- … and the flag was still there
- Apollo 16 site snapped from orbit

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Cool stuff, NASA, Space

Comments (31)

  1. Chew

    Great interview. It must be nice to be interviewed by someone who knows quite a lot about the topic!

    For those who listened who may have forgotten their Apollo history, Apollo 8 and 10 also orbited the Moon. A total of 24 men have orbited, flew by, and/or walked on the Moon. Three men, Young, Cernan, and Lovell, went twice.

  2. andy

    If you can fake an entire moon landing then faking an “orbital photo” should be pretty easy.

    Right?

    [/snark]

  3. Excellent interview. I feel sorry, in a way for young Americans; the best thing we ever did is just something in the history books to them.

  4. Cochise

    Since I’m deaf, could someone tell me why the flags may no longer be there?

  5. Andrew W

    “Since I’m deaf, could someone tell me why the flags may no longer be there?”

    Made of nylon which probably hasn’t lasted 40 years exposure to UV radiation.

  6. It was too short. I wish it was longer.

  7. Andrew W

    Running through the stats; 12 men have walked on the Moon, another 12 have orbited (or at least circumnavigated) the Moon including 3 men who made the trip twice (so there were a total of 9 Apollo missions to the Moon).

  8. Cochise
  9. Yoeman

    Cool! Just downloaded, can’t wait to listen, have been a listener to both of you for years.

  10. Gary B

    Great interview Phil. Really helps when the person conducting the interview is knowledgable about the subject as well. Nice job Mike and WGN and thanks.

  11. Messier Tidy Upper

    It’s always nice to talk to another Apollo fan!

    Agreed. You can talk with this Apollo fan anytime too! ;-)

    Great interview. :-)

    I think the Apollo Moon landings are – quite literally – the greatest and finest thing humans have ever accomplished.

    @3. Zucchi : I feel sorry, in a way for young Americans; the best thing we ever did is just something in the history books to them.

    I feel sorry for everyone that we’re not going back to the Moon nor are we exploring further – and pretty chessed off about that. Obama’s dismissive “we’ve been there before” nonsense – our generation certainly hasn’t nor have humans really explored more than a tiny handful of lunar sites – still rankles. :-(

    @1. Chew : “.. Three men, Young, Cernan, and Lovell, went twice.”

    Yep. Jim Lovell flew twice (Apollo‘s 8 & 13) and still never landed there.

  12. Messier Tidy Upper

    @7. Andrew W :

    Running through the stats; 12 men have walked on the Moon, another 12 have orbited (or at least circumnavigated) the Moon including 3 men who made the trip twice (so there were a total of 9 Apollo missions to the Moon).

    Indeed. All these following individuals (most of them still living today) have circled the Moon and many have set foot upon the Lunar regolith (In order of appearance) :

    James Lovell,
    Frank Borman,
    William Anders

    Apollo 8 – circled the Moon – & took the famous ‘Earthrise’ image.

    Tom Stafford
    Gene Cernan
    John Young

    Apollo 10 – dress rehearsal for Lunar landing.

    Neil Armstrong,
    Buzz (Edwin) Aldrin,
    Michael Collins

    Apollo 11 – first Lunar landing. Aldrin would later write an autobiography as well as at least one SF novel.

    Charles “Pete” Conrad
    Alan Bean
    Richard Gordon

    Apollo 12 – the second Lunar landing. Alan Bean would later paint many scenes from his Lunar adventure from memory.

    John Swigert,
    Fred Haise

    Apollo 13 – NASA’s “finest hour” amazing rescue story – which also circled the Moon. Plus again, Jim Lovell who would write a non-fiction book ‘Lost Moon’ detailing his Lunar voyages in 8 & 13.

    Alan Shepherd
    Edgar Mitchell
    Stuart Roosa

    Apollo 14 – third lunar landing – & Al Shepherd was the first American in space with the ‘Mercury’ programme.

    David Scott
    James Irwin
    Al Worden

    Apollo 15 – fourth lunar landing.

    John Young
    Charles Duke
    Ken Mattingly

    Apollo 16 – fifth Lunar landing. Plus John Young, again.

    Harrison Schmidt
    Ronald Evans

    Apollo 17 – sixth & so far last lunar landing which happened back on the 11th December 1972. Plus again, Gene Cernan. Schmidt, a geologist was the first and only scientist to walk on the Moon, the other astronauts mostly came from air-force or navy backgrounds.

    All these good men – and hundreds and thousands more – would have to be perfect liars if the Moon Hoax Conspiracy theory was right. :-(

    Which, of course, it isn’t.

  13. Nigel Depledge

    Boingo (6) said:

    It was too short. I wish it was longer.

    *Sigh*. The story of my life . . .
    ;-)

  14. #12 MTU:
    In recent years, I’ve had the great honour and privilege of meeting four of them – Charlie Duke, Alan Bean, Fred Haise and Dick Gordon.

  15. Azmi

    Short but sweet interview! I wish you can go on for hours about this particular thing because I do enjoy this topic, as well.

    I hope that we would someday go back to the moon, and I hope we bring HD cameras–A LOT OF ‘EM!

  16. vince charles

    11. Messier Tidy Upper Said:

    “I feel sorry for everyone that we’re not going back to the Moon nor are we exploring further”

    More ignorance. We have been commissioned to send humans to an asteroid by 2025. And by “we,” I mean “those of us actually qualified, paid, and experienced, to do our job.”

    It is really tiring to see you incessantly post with some sense of authority, and then have to correct your lack of authority. Oh, and Phil, if you claim to love a manned asteroid mission so much, then why haven’t you posted anything?

    “and pretty chessed off about that. Obama’s dismissive “we’ve been there before” nonsense”

    I won’t apologize by assuming it’s a throwaway remark from a speech, but… it happens to be true. Both light-time and bandwidth to a Moon mission are so easy compared to any other hard destination (and even some soft ones) that humans are not that compelling. This is even true in those Apollo-type bands, before even considering the K-bands or later. The Soviets even did it with multiple Lunokhods. Despite being forty-year old technology, each Lunokhod traveled farther than Spirit and Opportunity, by a clear margin… simply because the radio link is good enough to allow direct control, instead of demanding vehicular autonomy, not because the Lunokhods were amazing technology. With MER technology, a Lunokhod would be like a rally car.

    In my own work, I ran through a design exercise and realized that a “New Apollo” actually got better as you reduced the number of astronauts. Unlike Orion, which _increased_ the number of crew to four. In addition, I observed research groups trying to come up with any compelling science that might occupy human crews- not easy.

    This is just like it was in the Sixties. You apparently don’t know that Kennedy met with scientists, early after the big Moon announcement. The scientists could name no lunar science that clearly needed humans aboard, which increased costs. The scientists, in fact, resented the prospect of Apollo, which would divert billions of dollars from more-productive unmanned missions. So in exchange, Kennedy agreed not to cut funding for unmanned probes, and not to wrongly boast about all the new scientific discoveries Apollo would produce. That would be a misdirection at best. Meanwhile, the space-science community would not oppose Apollo’s massive spending.

    Today, the Soviet Union no longer exists, and Moore’s Law applies to computers, not flesh. So few in space sciences want a Kennedy-style deal today. The few who actually thought they’d do productive science were tempted by a free ride to the Moon; these are people who don’t quite realize there ain’t no free rides. When humans are aboard, the cost of doing business rises dramatically. This is yet another of the reasons I opposed Orion: it was making all the same mistakes as both Shuttle and Station, yet again. Once was bad enough.

    But no, you need to feel good.

  17. Roger

    MTU, you didn’t mention the Apollo 18 mission. ;)

  18. Roger

    It’s hard to believe it took 7 (8?) years from decision to actually getting to the moon considering the technology. My Iphone has more computing power than the computer used on the landers. One would think it would be easier (technologically not economically speaking) now then it was in the late 60′s and 70′s. I know this is a sore spot for Phil. Hopefully I’ll get to see someone land on the moon again in my life time. The last time someone landed on the moon, I was 2 so I just didn’t get it at the time.

  19. Tara Li

    @vince: Frankly, *SCIENCE* isn’t the reason to go to space – or the Moon. Science is one of a *NUMBER* of goals that could be expedited with some incredible payoffs by building a certain amount of infrastructure in space first.

    Explorers are not scientists. Explorers are scouts for all of the follow on activities – science, building, artistic endeavors, etc. I’m starting to get resentful of every probe that’s launched, that isn’t actually giving us information we can use to actually *GO* there. LRO – *great*. Best maps so far, finding us several good targets for further checking. These two gravity-probe satellites headed for the Moon soon? Not so much. Vaguely nice stuff to know, but not really useful – until we’ve started actually *DOING* stuff on the Moon.

  20. Robin

    It really gets old and certainly displays a lack of critical thought when the old “Obama did this……manned flight is dead…….Obama killed……this prez killed space……” saws are trotted out. It shows a complete disregard for all the other groups/people that influence and exercise control over what gets done at NASA and their responsibility for the current state of things. It gives a pass to Congress, the NASA bureaucracy, the NASA leadership, the rules under which NASA is forced to operate, the contractors working with NASA, and most importantly to the public. In fact, the whole “President ____ is to blame for ______” is at least as myopic and facile as any of the ridiculous comments we hear from politicians looking to score political points.

    I grew up watching Apollo launches and am a fervent supporter of manned exploration of space. I am not so naive though to believe that one single person is responsible for the state of manned exploration today. I’m not so naive as to believe that manned exploration is done and that there has been no progress and nothing learned in the time since Apollo ended that would contribute to future manned missions beyond LEO. I’m not so naive as to believe that getting back to the Moon is as easy as saying, “Jimminy willikers! We done it once, so it’ll be right easy and quick-like to do it again!” I will admit, though, it would be nice to live in the simplistic world in which others appear to live.

  21. Wzrd1

    @Vince #16, I recall one thing that was shameful in the Apollo program. The dearth of scientists that actually DID explore the moon. And the surprise when a geologist finally DID look around, with human eyes, at the lunar surface and quickly found minerals that would have been ignored by others.
    So, I DO find a scientist, especially a geologist, important for such a mission. One would also require a technical support type, to repair equipment as needed.
    Imagine those rovers deploying from the manned mothership or even pre-deployed, with a stuck wheel or solar panel, now repaired or modified by the engineer on site and it can continue its mission.
    The trick, as you said, is thinking more proactively and creatively in the planning process, so that a human on the mission isn’t just a logistical nightmare, just to smile for pretty pictures, but instead, is a logistical nightmare for a valid purpose, to SUPPLEMENT the equipment and SEE that odd mineral that might be missed by a camera and an operator millions of miles away.
    Though, on an asteroid, the value of having a human present and walking on the surface is dubious at best, the gravity is a LOT low. The moon was bad enough, with astronauts having about as much time on their butts as they did on their feet, it’d only be worse with even lower gravity.
    Personally, I’d like to see a subsurface lunar base, with deep drilling equipment, to take deep cores from the moon, rather than dust and stones on the surface.
    And potentially, a staging area for future missions, whether manned or not. It’s a LOT easier to loft something from the moon than from the Earth, as you well know.

  22. @16. vince charles Says:

    11. Messier Tidy Upper : “I feel sorry for everyone that we’re not going back to the Moon nor are we exploring further”
    More ignorance. We have been commissioned to send humans to an asteroid by 2025. And by “we,” I mean “those of us actually qualified, paid, and experienced, to do our job.”

    Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve heard so many plans seen so few actually happen – so sick of that.

    I take umbrage at your accusation of “ignorance” – I may have a different perspective and view to yours but that does NOT make me ignorant and I thank you to remember the difference.

    It is really tiring to see you incessantly post with some sense of authority, and then have to correct your lack of authority.

    Whee-yell, excuse me for daring to express myself here. :roll:

    With a “sense of authority” even?

    On some things where I have some knowledge, maybe.

    I make no claim to be infallible, never have, very much doubt I ever will. Could I be wrong about some things?

    Sure. I think I’ve always been pretty honest and up-front in saying as much myself.

    You are entitled to your opinion otherwise, natch, just as I’m entitled to *my* opinion that *your opinion* is utterly mean-spirited and wrong. :-P

    I do believe that humans in space means a lot and is worth a lot.

    I think robotic missions are wonderful and have their place too but I don’t think we should concentrate solely on them at the expense of the manned sapce program or vice-versa.

  23. @16. vince charles : (Continued, corrected and expanded.)

    Make that :

    I think robotic missions are wonderful and have their place too but I don’t think we should concentrate solely on them at the expense of the manned space program or vice-versa.

    Now to :

    MTU : “and pretty chessed off about that. Obama’s dismissive “we’ve been there before” nonsense.”
    I won’t apologize by assuming it’s a throwaway remark from a speech, but… it happens to be true. Both light-time and bandwidth to a Moon mission are so easy compared to any other hard destination (and even some soft ones) that humans are not that compelling.

    Compelling~ness is in the eye of the beholder.

    Our planet’s Moon is a compelling destination for me for a number of good & logical reasons.

    Obama is wrong – in my view* – to say that “we’ve been there before” because his generation hasn’t been. There’s a heck of a lot that we haven’t done there, a heck of a lot of exploration, discoveries and “firsts” and knowledge to be gained from going there still.

    To use it as a throwaway line, frankly disgust me with its casual ignorance and disrespect towards the Apollo heroes and others. It’s indicative of Obama’s bad attitude and bad faith on this issue as I see it.*

    @20. Robin :

    In fact, the whole “President ____ is to blame for ______” is at least as myopic and facile as any of the ridiculous comments we hear from politicians looking to score political points.

    Wasn’t it a President of the United States who famously said? :

    “The buck stops here.”

    President Obama inherited from his predecessor a working shuttle fleet, a plan to return to our Moon, a new space telescope design under construction and more.

    Barack Obama will be remembered (on current form) for having seen the Shuttles retire without successor, with having cancelled the Ares-Constellation progarm and the James Webb Space telescope and left the USA dependent on Russia to get its astronauts into space.

    The buck stops with him.

    History will probably judge Obama with much the same bewildered contempt that the Chinese Emperor who cancelled and destroyed the boats of Zheng He (click my name for wiki-page) following that explorers footsteps gets. His choice.

    Yeah, he’s not *solely* responsible for the mess we’re in – but he *is* responsible.

    If he didn’t want that responsibility – and the blame that comes with it when he gets it horribly wrong as I think he has done – then he shouldn’t have run for the Office in the first place.

    If his plan works out – and I hope it does – then he’ll deserve the credit for it. But .. we’ll see. History begins now – and it never concludes whilst there’s historians to write it. ;-)

    @ 17. Roger : “MTU, you didn’t mention the Apollo 18 mission.”

    Well, its’ not one of the ‘official’ ones so ..! ;-)

    —–

    * “Needless to say” it need not be said
    But so many needlessly say it.
    Is that because its NOT nedless to say,
    And thus we must needfully say it? ;-)

  24. Messier Tidy Upper

    “nedless to say,” = needless to say, no doubt needless to say. ;-)

  25. Robin

    I frankly don’t care where the buck allegedly stops. Moreover, the “buck stops here” is only a cutesie phrase that doesn’t reflect the reality of the way the US government works. In fact, given that we have three branches of government, two providing checks and balances on the third, the buck is spread among them. Using a bold font doesn’t change that, but it does look really cool and authoritative.

    Who is ultimately given “credit” isn’t proof of anything, either. The results of a popularity contest aren’t necessarily fact.

  26. vince charles

    22. Messier Tidy Upper Said:

    “I take umbrage at your accusation of “ignorance” – I may have a different perspective and view to yours but that does NOT make me ignorant and I thank you to remember the difference.”

    .

    I remember your FACTUAL ERRORS quite well. Since you openly claimed:

    11. Messier Tidy Upper Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    “I feel sorry for everyone that we’re not going back to the Moon nor are we exploring further…”

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/09/07/brief-interview-on-wgn-radio-about-new-lro-pix/#comment-414980

    I decided not to let someone who isn’t actually a part of any of the world’s notable space programs, organizations, vehicle contractors, or engineering services firms slide by with posting a factual error on a space board… a board from a scientist and skeptic. You see, inquiry and skepticism (and the rejection of false leads, however comforting or cherished) are as important in aeronautical engineering and vehicle design as they are in science and medicine. I have to fill you in on a lot about aeronautical engineering and vehicles, apparently. Such as this:

    18. Messier Tidy Upper Says:
    September 10th, 2011 at 7:26 am

    The GRAIL has been lifted!

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/09/08/grail-to-try-to-launch-again-tomorrow/#comment-415991

    So… you ADMIT we are, in fact, going back to the Moon. Either you deny that this is your statement, or my “accusation” is a statement of fact- you misstated facts, and I corrected you. Just like on the Gemini program, Concorde, Shuttle, Galileo Mission, etc.

    You post factual errors again and again, and are not only unapologetic but insistent. The issue of manned versus unmanned missions is a bit of a tangent, which I should have kept separate. The issue of your factual accuracy about flown hardware, mission timelines, and budgets (in many cases already spent) is not a matter of opinion. Your stating that the Shuttle was great at flying cargo is in direct contradiction to… not only the published payload requirements of both Shuttle and competing launch vehicles, and to my own project schedule and budget, but to the project schedules and budgets of numerous other space groups and organizations attempting to get access to space… and the many more who _did_not_even_bother_ with uncompetitive Shuttle launches. And yet you still insist on boasting about a vehicle you never used, and thus never had to pay for directly, nor indirectly, as a US taxpayer, which you again are not.

    “President Obama inherited from his predecessor a working shuttle fleet, a plan to return to our Moon, a new space telescope design under construction and more.”

    Yet ANOTHER posting of factual errors on your part:

    -The Shuttle retirement had been preceded by over two decades of plans for cheaper, safer, more consistent, and in some cases more capable (i.e., lift capacity). For over twenty years, various groups (both within NASA itself, the Department of Defense, and various administrations) have been working to replace the STS with something- anything- because it fails to meet not only launch requirements, but the internal requirements of the STS program. The vehicles appeared to be “working” in the sense that they moved under their own power. However, like the Concorde, they did so by burning up massive amounts of fuel and taxpayer dollars. It is not our job but our duty, as staff on a program, to minimize waste of customer monies, and the failure to halt the STS via a less-wasteful means of access was repaid by the “Shuttle Gap” in deep-space missions. Your Shuttle insistence would have kept holding us back, failing to launch worthwhile missions, had NASA Administrator Goldin not called a spade a spade and moved probes off Shuttle launches.

    -Orion/Constellation/Altair was not a working plan to return to our Moon. This is the finding of the Augustine Commission, a nonpartisan board of experts. Phil admits so himself- Orion budgets would have crashed us on the Moon, not actually soft-landed humans successfully. I have already asked you to please read the Augustine Report, so that your posts would be more informed, and I wouldn’t have to correct you. You apparently have not.

    -So, now you’re blaming Obama for a possible JWST ccancellation. Wonderful. You apparently don’t know that Administrator Bolden is planning to raid other missions to fund JWST, should Congress stop doing so. In other words, you don’t know what- and who- you’re talking about.

    -”and more.” Go ahead, MTU. Tell me more. Tell me what I don’t know about my own country’s programs, many of which I may be academically, professionally, and materially attached to.

  27. vince charles

    Oh, forgot to mention:

    23. Messier Tidy Upper Said:

    “Barack Obama will be remembered (on current form) for having seen the Shuttles retire without successor, with having cancelled the Ares-Constellation progarm and the James Webb Space telescope and left the USA dependent on Russia to get its astronauts into space.”

    Wrong again. The MPCV will launch on Delta IV-Heavy, in keeping with Akin’s Law #39: The three keys to keeping a new manned space program affordable and on schedule:
    1) No new launch vehicles.
    2) No new launch vehicles.
    3) Whatever you do, don’t decide to develop any new launch vehicles.

    Unlike Orion, MPCV is actually a well-run program, as extraneous operating modes and design configurations are finally axed. The design has been frozen in one, sensible place, so now real engineers can finally get to work. The launcher, meanwhile, is an existing system, like every previous successful manned launch vehicle. (The Saturns were under Army development before any astronauts ever flew- they were then repurposed for Apollo early in the development process.) Oh, and a likely test mission for the new capsule will be a lunar circumnavigation, Apollo-8 style.

    So, let’s fill the table:

    -”we’re not going back to the Moon”- factually incorrect by your own admission
    -”nor are we exploring further”- simply wrong on its face
    -”having seen the Shuttles retire without successor”- factually incorrect, and Phil agrees
    -”having cancelled the Ares-Constellation progarm and the James Webb Space telescope”- factually incorrect
    -”and left the USA dependent on Russia to get its astronauts into space”- you are in denial over CCDev.

    And you think you’re entitled to a blissful opinion, without correction?

  28. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 25. Robin : So you’re saying Barack Obama is irresponsible then? ;-)

  29. Messier Tidy Upper

    @27. vince charles :

    So, let’s fill the table:
    -”we’re not going back to the Moon”- factually incorrect by your own admission

    What? “Factually incorrect?” I wish. :-(

    Where’s the plan to get people back on the Moon? That’s what I was talking about there which I thought was rather obvious in context.

    Oh right, Obama cancelled it and mocked the whole concept with a derisive throwaway line. :-(

    Robotic missions such as GRAIL & the LRO are good but not the same & NOT what I was referring to.

    -”nor are we exploring further”- simply wrong on its face.

    It is? Name the date scheduled for a manned lift-off then to Mars, to an asteroid to somewhere beyond Low Earth Orbit. Go on. Name the rocket they crew will be flying and while your at it the names abd numbers of tehpeople being sent to explore. Show us the images of the spacecraft actually under construction and being readied for launch with folks aboard.

    I bet you can’t – but I hope I’m wrong.

    -”having seen the Shuttles retire without successor”- factually incorrect, and Phil agrees

    Factually incorrect – Really? What successor?

    NASA successors – I’m not talking about private companies like SpaceX or what the Russian space agency is doing. I’m talking NASA here and human spaceflight – human spaceplanes specifically – remember.

    -”having cancelled the Ares-Constellation program and the James Webb Space telescope”- factually incorrect

    If you’ve got news that the JWST hasn’t been cancelled then its the first I’ve heard of it. Have you?

    Obama did indeed scrap the Constellation program – that’s well known fact so why you seem to be saying otherwise is beyond me.

    -”and left the USA dependent on Russia to get its astronauts into space”- you are in denial over CCDev.

    You seem to be in denial of reality.

    Tell me Vince Charles how are the NASA astronauts currently being transported to & from the International Space Station?

    Oh yeah, that’s right the ancient Russian Soyuz craft.

    Why are they now discussing decrewing the ISS and leaving it empty?

    Oh right, because we can’t totally trust those ancient Russian Soyuz craft after the recent launch failure. :-(

    Will SpaceX be used in the future successfuly? Perhaps. I hope so.

    But has it yet succeeded in launching anyone? Nup.

    Meanwhile we’ve got no NASA manned spacecraft and are relying on Russia as I said in an ironic twist of history to get our astronauts to the space station.

    So who’s being factually incorrect? Methinks its you.

  30. Messier Tidy Upper

    @27. Vince Charles :

    you think you’re entitled to a blissful opinion, without correction?

    I’m entitled to my opinion – blissfull or otherwise – and to express it publicly just as you are.

    You are welcome to correct me if you think I’m wrong and we can discuss the situation reasonably.

    Equally, I’m entitled to correct your opinion if I think you’re wrong as, oddly enough, I do. It’s called debate.

    When you accuse me of being “factually incorrect” though you need to have the facts on your side. Facts not your opinion, not plans and future possibilities.

    You are entitled to your own opinions NOT your own facts.

    It is a fact that Obama has scrapped the Constellation program.

    It is a fact that today the USA is relying on its former Cold War enemy & Moon race loser Russia to get its astronauts into orbit.

    It is hoped and planned – but NOT (at least not yet) – a fact that SpaceX or anything else has been able to lift American astronauts into orbit on American rockets.

    Hopefully Obama’s space exploartion plans will work out. But they’ve yet to do so and as a skeptic who has seen all too many plans fail to launch I’ll believe it when I see it not before.

  31. Messier Tidy Upper

    @26. vince charles :

    -So, now you’re blaming Obama for a possible JWST ccancellation. Wonderful. You apparently don’t know that Administrator Bolden is planning to raid other missions to fund JWST, should Congress stop doing so. In other words, you don’t know what – and who – you’re talking about.

    We’re talking about facts right? Right. Not what Biden may or may not be planning to do which is a matter of possibility rather than fact.

    Cancellations~wise note from here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/07/14/congress-threatens-americas-future-in-space/

    I’ll iterate once again that the Shuttle was canceled by Bush, and the followup rocket system, Constellation, was canceled by Obama .. The House subcommittee in charge of NASA’s funds recommended totally cutting the budget for Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. The House committee above them approved it on Wednesday. So that decision to axe JWST will go into the House budget bill.

    The Bush decision on the Space Shuttle could have been vetoed and reversed by Obama had he chosen to do so. The Space Shuttles were still flying when Obama took over – they will not be when he leaves office.

    Ditto the House committe on the JWST – the US President I believe has power and responsibility over it. I have not heard Obama say one word against the JWST cancellatuion or the retiring of the Space Shuttles. he’s president and yes, the buck does stop with him. Yes, Congress is a pain and a problem, yes, he’s bene left with difficult problems and doesn’t have an easy job but he *is* the Commander-in-Cheif, the ultimate power in the land. The Presidency is seen by almost everyone on the planet as the job that sets the agenda and the most powerful man on Earth. If he didn’t want the responsibility and wasn’t up for the task – a task which includes overseeing the running of NASA’and America’s space program – Obama should NOT have chosen to run for or accept the office.

    Obama played a direct role in scrapping Constellation :

    In 2009, concerned by price increases on the program, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered a review of the project which indicated that both returning to the Moon and manned flights to Mars were out of NASA’s current budget.[32] .. [snip] .. After reviewing the report, following congressional testimony,[24] the Obama administration decided to exclude Constellation from the 2011 United States federal budget.[34][35] On February 1, 2010, the President’s proposed budget was released, which included no funding for the project.

    Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constellation_program#President_Obama

    Obama ordered the Augustine panel, he decided to scrap Bush’es vision for a manned Lunar return. That’s fact. So Obama gets the blame is a reasonable conclusion.

    I’ll also note as this link shows :

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36470363/ns/nightly_news/

    that some of the greatest astronauts and space program directors such as Neil Armstrong,Jim Lovell – and I’ll add many others have strongly criticised and condemned Obama’s plan.

    I’m with Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts on this – not the side of a politician whose slogan was the highly misleading “Yes we can” without saying that what that “yes we can” was supposed to mean.

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