So, in 2010, while distracting the nation with a smokescreen of trivialities like the creation of death panels to murder grandma in the name of health care reform and the government take over of a reform of the financial system, that relentless enemy of all things capitalist, Barack Hussein Obama, snuck past an unsuspecting public his real plan: NASA now leads the government take over of the high ground! Yup, the final frontier itself.
Or not, as today’s New York Times reports.
Last year, the Obama administration pushed through an ambitious transformation for NASA: canceling the Ares I rocket, which was to be the successor to the current generation of space shuttles, and turning to the commercial sector for astronaut transportation.
The story focuses mostly on the work of Sierra Nevada Space Systems, which sounds as if it has done a number of very clever things, including leveraging prior work by NASA on a space-plane design (itself derived from a spy-plane photographed Soviet experiment). That project had been discarded under the former and not-much-missed administrator Daniel Goldin, but Sierra Nevada’s use of the external shape of the earlier vehicle allows them to grab all the wind test data NASA collected before the original project went poof.
What’s this? Under Obama’s administration, smart and nimble private companies are aiding the government in the achievement of national goals while seeking profit?
Next thing you know, Richard Branson will sign up to handle the passanger trade for the new space hoppers.
Virgin Galactic, the spacecraft division of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, signed on as a strategic partner in December. Among the possible roles that Virgin could play is selling seats on the Dream Chaser.
That dastardly Obama. You know he’s not a real American because he’s so damn sneaky.
Image: Y’all know this one, right. Anyway: Vincent van Gogh Starry Night, 1889
I’m a totally art ignorant (not necessarily by choice) but this is the first time in months I immediately knew the piece of art work in a Levenson post. Yeah, Yeah, the non-NBA Don McLean and all that but still….
@Ailuridae: I thought of some other ones, but really, what else would do here?
The fact that you knew there was an NBA Don McLean is worrying…
By the way, this painting, along with several others, is used to wonderful effect in a recent Doctor Who episode, “Vincent and the Doctor.” Available as a download on iTunes and elsewhere. Actor Tony Curran is quite touching as Van Gogh.
The episode was written by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill, and Love Actually, as well as the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Vicar of Dibley), and was criticized by a crabby few as not being science fictiony enough. Most people though, were knocked out by the episode.
I look forward to a future episode of Doctor Who where Obama is revealed to be a Dalek, leading a techno-Islamic invasion of Earth.
@Brachiator: Did the same writer do the Agatha Christie ep too? They were both good.
Now that’s my kind of Imperialism. I don’t even think Lenin was against that one.
No, Obama is a Time Lord. That’s how he faked the evidence of his own birth.
@Brachiator: The episode is up for an award for its deft handling of mental illness. Frankly, if the the scene with Van Gogh at the Musee D’Orsay doesn’t require a few hankies, then, well, clearly the viewer is a Dalek.
Herr Doktor Krauthammer loses faith in capitalism. So sad.
It could also be referred to as privatizing our science knowledge for the profit of a few
Oh my gosh! That is my most favorite Van Gogh painting of all time. I love your use of paintings to go with your posts. Many of them are new to me, since I am not an art person, but this one I knew. This site just keeps educating me in so many ways.
@gnomedad: Ur link no work. U fix.
I’ll always amazed by how many conservatives who think all government spending is awful would welcome a nearly unlimited budget for space travel. Does this have something to do with the connection between glibertarianism and craptastic sci-fi? It really is “I have this principled stance on government spending except where it disagrees with my childhood fantasies”.
Herr Doktor Krauthammer loses faith in capitalism. So sad.
Possibly, but in this case, opposing anything that’s Obama’s idea is probably sufficient. If Bush or St. Ronnie had done this, it would’ve been a stroke of genius and long overdue.
It sounds like a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) thing. DARPA is a sort of a government idea incubator that does preliminary work on new technologies with relatively little bureaucracy and red tape, and then passes projects on to private companies. It’s supposed to be quite cost-effective, at least according to Michael Belfiore in the book The Department of Mad Scientists.
DARPA’s web site is very interesting, too. See at least a few of your tax dollars at work at:
Davis X. Machina
Zandar, of Zandar vs. The Stupid, already has Daleks running around his blog saying “TRIAAAAAANG-U-LATE”…so that’s probably not much of a stretch.
Joni Mitchell had a wonderful line at a concert when the crowd was howling for her to sing one of her early hits; she’d moved about five years past that period and was writing and singing material quite unlike “The Circle Game” and “Both Sides Now” by then.
She said “Nobody asked Van Gogh to paint A Starry Night again, man.”
And a certain scene where Van Gogh takes the Doctor and Amy out to show them how the universe looks from his perspective, well…. it may not make you cry, but it should certainly make you go, “Wow.”
Do you mean The Unicorn and the Wasp? The writer of that episode was Gareth Roberts.
@Kirbster: DARPA’s predecessor had a wacky idea about letting different computer networks talk to each other that’s worked out pretty well.
Do all the teabaggers who snipe about Obama’s cutting the NASA budget really disapprove because they love the space program? Or is it just incoherent, hypocritical O-bashing?
From the Yahoo News comment threads on every story about NASA, I get the impression that it’s the latter.
Brachiator: Don’t be silly. Obama is not a Dalek. He’s an Ood. He will lead us into the collective mind!
Chad N Freude
@gnomedad: Apparently, Krauthammer thinks Obama isn’t spending enough government money:
ETA: I don’t think Krauthammer intended the pun.
I have a copy of this. You can stare at it for hours – beautiful.
What that’s about is the neocon
wet dreamvision of an orbiting platform, loaded to the gills with nukes and lasers. They’ve spent too much time reading Dale Brown. So have I, but at least I know it’s fiction.
Reading Yahoo comments on anything, news or finance, is like cruising the sewer in a glass-bottomed boat.
@Brachiator: I look forward to a future episode of Doctor Who where Obama is revealed to be a Dalek, leading a techno-Islamic invasion of Earth.
It’s posts and comments like these that make me realize I’ve found a home on the internets… (relurks)
Hey, so, for anyone who’s interested, the real story is that this will transform space exploration from a poorly-administered public program into a private investment boondoggle that will be quickly outpaced by the space programs of Korea and China.
You read it here first.