This was cool thanks for the post
As much as I love what NASA does, I have to say let it go. I know that isn't the popular stance amongst the skeptic crowd, but hear me out.
1st, his math is wrong. It's not 1/2 a cent, it's 1/2 a cent plus interest. We're borrowing that money. I'd be happy to give NASA even 1/2 a buck, but even if we all got together and gave NASA $0.50, it would only work out to around $150 million, which I doubt will even cover the salaries of the employees.
2nd, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find that funding for NASA year over year actually will be increasing in the remaining projects (which are every bit as important as maned space flight when it comes to employing scientists and encouraging engineering students -smart kids today don't necessarily need rocket ships to inspire them). This is how budgeting works in bureaucracies: You come up with a budget for your department, which then rolls up to the next management level (after a lot of discussion), which then rolls up the next level, and so on until the entire budget is completed. In the case of the company I worked for as a manger with budget authority, if the numbers didn't work out, we were told by corporate to start over, but most of the time it wasn't that bad. But we all had our ideas of how much our employees should get in raises, how much revenue we should generate (which NASA doesn't have to worry about... guess what -it's never enough), and what our ROI would be on capital projects (again, NASA doesn't need to worry about that one either, and if you're like me, the ROI was usually way too optimistic). When it was finally approved, no one was happy. The sales people moaned about how much business they were expected to bring in. The production people moaned about the paltry raises. And I usually moaned about not getting that extra employee or new labor saving device (at the time my industry was converting to digital and we were 1/2 way there). The first thing we did was start complaining to the GM and regional directors how unfair the budget was, but in the end we found ways around it.
3rd, he stated that he didn't want to see a Chinese flag on Mars. He also made this claim at TAM last summer. To my ear, that sounded very racist. He asked us to imagine what it would be like to see Chinese footprints on Mars, as if somehow it would be less of an accomplishment. I guess he's trying to appeal to the flag wavers who like to chant USA and think we're number 1 just because we dominate at the Olympics (but only at the sports we're "good" at). But to me, the accomplishment of putting a human being on Mars won't lessen the accomplishment just because his name isn't John or Neil.
The US federal government has got to start paying down it's debt. It isn't going to be nice and easy for ANYONE, and no part of the government can be spared, no matter how much we like them. I once had credit card debt that was getting a little out of control. When I decided to pay it off, it meant living lean, going without, and scrutinizing every outlay of cash. But when I was finally debt free, in a matter of months I was able to live even better than before, since I was able to keep every dollar instead of paying off old purchases. US businesses have been using the downturn to pay down their debt so that when the economy recovers they'll be in better shape to move forward than before. The federal government needs to do the same or it will just continue to be more and more of a drag on the nation's productivity.
Richard....Man, Thanx sooo much for putting this up. Knew it was taking place, but forgot the date. Sure hope others appreciate the importance of like minded people speaking before senate committees. Religions can tell people the Earth is flat, but must quickly shut the fuck up when shown a picture from space of 'THE BIG BLUE MARBLE'. Have a Great Day.......Darrin.