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NASA Deletes Crew from Manned Lunar Missions

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
May 8, 2009
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NASA's Altair lander - now with 100 percent fewer astronauts.

I know the NASA budget was released today, but it’s Thursday night, I’m really tired, and I just don’t have the stomach to plow through it. In it’s place, I hope you’ll enjoy this breaking wire story.

The Unassociated Press

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2009 — Citing severe budgetary pressures and insurmountable technical problems, the Obama Administration announced that it would eliminate all crew members from NASA’s Constellation program to return humans to the moon by 2020.

“It was unavoidable,” an administration spokesman said. “Costs are out of control, the spacecraft is overweight, and the rocket is underpowered. Something had to go, and we figured it might as well be the astronauts. They’re heavy, take up a lot of space, and we really didn’t have a way to get them back home anyway.”

NASA officials acknowledged that weight problems eventually did the project in.

“We cut everythin’ we could think of,” a high-ranking NASA official said. “Avionics, guidance, both espresso machines. But, once we realized we had to remove the life support to get back to the moon, well, needless to say, it was pretty much over for them astronaut boys.”

NASA will still land its Altair spacecraft on the moon. However, the astronauts will be replaced by two crash test dummies the space agency has been using to test the new Orion capsule.

The next Americans on the moon

The next Americans on the moon

“They’re good, God-fearing Christian folk,” the NASA official said. “And they’re about the only things that could survive an Altair landing. We’re havin’ real problems with the descent engine.”

To save money, Mission Control in Houston will be outsourced to an as-of-yet-undetermined country. “We don’t really see a problem,” the White House official said. “It works great with tech support and customer service. And we’ll retrain NASA workers for crash test production.”

Reaction on Capitol Hill was mixed, with some Congressmen and Senators praising the new plan as a giant leap for dummykind while others decrying it for fear of massive job losses and America becoming an international laughingstock to the entire world.

“If we’re just going to launch dummies to the moon, why not just send Ryan Seacrest and Paula Abdul?” asked Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) “It’s not as if we need them back. We can follow that up with the entire Hollywood liberal elite, starting with Sean Penn.”

Neither Penn nor Seacrest could be reached for comment. During an appearance on Fox & Friends, Abdul said, “I bet there’s a big party going on where those crash test dummies are. Woot! woot!” She then slumped over in her chair unconscious while the camera cut to Steve Doocy with the weather. She was still there when the show ended two hours later.

The Space Frontier Foundation was also opposed to the Obama plan. “The private sector should take the lead in landing a crash test dummy on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” a spokesman said. “It can do it a lot cheaper and more efficiently.”

That’s exactly what Elon Musk has in mind. “If you give me $300 million, I’ll be able to get six dummies there in three years,” the SpaceX CEO said. “No, eight in two years for $200 million. Wait, 10 dummies, six months, $2,995. That’s my final offer.”

White House officials were mum on Musk’s offer, but were confident that they are on the right path.

“This is the only way we’re going to get back to the moon by 2020,” the White House official said. “Otherwise, someone else will put crash test dummies on the surface. Like China or India or maybe Norway. Failure is not an option.”

2 responses to “NASA Deletes Crew from Manned Lunar Missions”

  1. François-René says:

    Gadzooks! Sounds like something I once heard one Congressman say to another… “this would be a great job, if it weren’t for all them constituents.”

  2. amalie says:

    Well it would be funny if it wasn’t such a good idea.

    As Joel says the constituents are the big thing, this planet is an inhabited one, we might ask ourselves is the moon really so totally barren, or are we missing the main chance here.

    Do we really need a nationalized lunar race, how about a global lunar party?

    This planet is in big trouble, if an international lunar program could bring us together as a functioning global community that is surely the best possible outcome that we could envisioned.

    Is it economics or politics that precludes such a response ?

    Is it because US space enterprise would be able to do things cheaper but not if it had to compete in an international market, or because the space security issues might need to be looked at from a balanced international viewpoint

    None of the envisioned obstacles are genuine ones and the results from such a historic and cooperative international venture would be very significant ones.

    An international lunar program would ensure space based and communications sciences as the leading venue for rapid and global scale development.

    Do the leaders of this world need a forum where they can work together to ensure the dramatic benefits of a space age, or do they just need national accolades for getting to a destination first.

    It is time to grow up, why are we actually going to the moon …to save the planet or for some other and more important other reason.

    In my opinion the international approach to space development would do much more to stimulate the US economy than any amount of narrow focus unilateral expenditure.

    Is there a real reason why such purpose is not a possible one, the rest of the world might be very willing, is anyone at NASA or in the administration actually looking at the apparent global prospects and if not why not …

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