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Back in spring, Obama set up a special advisory science panel of scientists to find out exactly how cool it would be for NASA to send astronauts into space, like to Mars maybe. The panel’s findings indicate that this would be “pretty fucking cool,” or “quite brilliant, really” in metric units. Fantastiche! NASA will now be needing $3 billion a year on top of the $18 billion a year it already gets so it can send a guy or a clever monkey with a touching and uncanny capacity for human emotion to Mars.

Except NASA will not be getting that crucial $21 billion dollars, which is unfair. In fact, this whole thing is incredibly unfair, that NASA is even put in the position of having to justify why it needs its freedom, especially since George W. Bush promised NASA that if it was good it could send a team to Mars by 2020, but now they might not even get to go like at all. No one ever had to convince Bush that he should give NASA billions of dollars so that some guy could fuck around in space, because it’s SPACE and of course he should??? NASA will settle for going to an asteroid, but what even is that?

[Panel] members suggested a “deep space,” or “flexible,” option. Under that plan, NASA would launch manned missions to rendezvous at an asteroid, fly around the moon, or even fly to one of Mars’ moons, giving astronauts opportunities to hone their skills. […]

With the report in the hands of Obama, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a strong supporter of deep-space exploration by humans, offered his own view.

“When creatures of the Earth in two dozen years settle permanently on another planet, the leader who sent them will go down in history as greater than Julius Caesar, Queen Isabella, all those people,” he said.

Barack Obama is going to be sorry.

[Chicago Tribune]

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