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An Austrian Taxpayer Doesn't Like NASA Funding Priorities (Update)

By Keith Cowing
October 27, 2012
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Felix Baumgartner Sounds Off on NASA, Sir Richard Branson, Daily Beast
“A lot of guys they are talking about landing on Mars,” he said. “Because [they say] it is so important to land on Mars because we would learn a lot more about our planet here, our Earth, by going to Mars which actually makes no sense to me because we know a lot about Earth and we still treat our planet, which is very fragile, in a really bad way. “So I think we should perhaps spend all the money [which is] going to Mars to learn about Earth. I mean, you cannot send people there because it is just too far away. That little knowledge we get from Mars I don’t think it does make sense.” Earlier this year Nasa landed the Curiosity rover on Mars. The plutonium powered robot will explore the surface of the Red Planet for upwards of 10 years at a cost of $2.5 billion ( 1.5 billion). “That is tax money,” Mr Baumgartner, 43, added. “People should decide ‘are you willing to spend all this money to go to Mars?’ I think the average person on the ground would never spend that amount of money – they have to spend it on something that makes sense and this is definitely saving our planet.”
Keith’s note: I find it baffling, to say the least, that someone like commercial thrill seeker Felix Baumgartner – who just did something rather gutsy and improbable by jumping from a balloon 24 miles above Earth – thinks that sending humans to Mars is not possible because “it is just too far away”. Really, Felix? How defeatist of you. As for the cost of what NASA does – the last time I checked, Felix was not an American taxpayer (you know, the people who actually pay those “taxes” for NASA) but rather, is an Austrian citizen. NASA doesn’t get Austrian tax funding. It would seem, based on some simple Google searches, that Austria doesn’t really have much of a space program to speak of. Nor do they seem to want one. Yet decades of polls clearly show that Americans really like their space program.
So, Felix … we’ll run our space program the way we want to – and perhaps you should focus your space exploration criticism at home – where you pay your taxes? Maybe Austria can have a space program someday.
Oh yes, Felix, since you raised the point: how many millions of dollars did your skydive project cost? How did it help to “save our planet”?
Red Bull Pays Record U.K. Fine for Failing to Recycle Packaging Waste, Environmental Leader
“Soft drink company Red Bull has been fined 271,800 (about $448,400) for failing to meet its requirements to recover and recycle packaging waste for eight years between 1999 and 2006, … This beats the previous highest fine of 225,000 (about $371,107) that was imposed in January 2008 on a company that also failed to register as a producer of packaging…” (hat tip to @SarcasticRover).
Keith’s update: It would seem that Felix Baumgartner has some other controversial things to say. I don’t think he’s going to be invited to speak at many space events …
Baumgartner: “Wir wrden eine gemigte Diktatur brauchen” (Google Translate: Baumgartner: “We would need a moderate dictatorship”), Kleine Zeitung
“Ist ein Wechsel in die Politik eine Option fr Ihre Zukunft? FELIX BAUMGARTNER: Nein, man hat das am Beispiel Schwarzenegger gesehen: Du kannst in einer Demokratie nichts bewegen. Wir wrden eine gemigte Diktatur brauchen, wo es ein paar Leute aus der Privatwirtschaft gibt, sie sich wirklich auskennen.”
[Google Translate] “Is a change in the policy is an option for your future? FELIX BAUMGARTNER: No, we have seen the example of the Schwarzenegger: You can not move anything in a democracy. We would need a moderate dictatorship, where there are a few people from the private sector, they know really.”
Daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner opts for ‘moderate dictatorship’, AFP
“Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian parachutist who broke the sound barrier by jumping to earth from the stratosphere said in an interview published Sunday he backed the idea of a dictatorship, though a moderate one.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.