Well, this is interesting:
What do we think of this? I’m of two minds. On the one hand, we basically have a situation where a single man in Congress has managed to change the direction of what would eventually amount to at least a billion dollars, just because he’s a space nerd. That doesn’t seem like a wise way to run a country.
On the other hand… It’s freaking awesome.
NASA is adrift. They’re being forced to build the Senate Launch Jobs Program System, even though they don’t have a mission for it. So, they go looking for one and come up with a plan to capture an asteroid? Really? That seems… timid. And Europa is sitting out there, possibly teeming with life. This kind of science is what NASA should be doing, instead of building heavy lift rockets to compete with private rockets already existing or well into development.
NASA’s budget has been whittled away by ‘other priorities’ because it came up with nothing viable to divert the funds from the manned program to after it was shut down. In terms of the percentage of the federal budget, NASA’s budget is about half of what it was in 1980. It’s been reduced by something like 1.5 billion dollars just since 2010. I like the idea of forcing it to deal with a big, complex problem. That worked with Apollo. And NASA needs a big, imagination-inducing goal if it wants public support for more funding increases.