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Source-Dennis Wingo: There is a story in the Old Testament that illustrates wisdom - the wisdom of King Solomon. Solomon was the king of Israel and had been proclaimed to be the wisest man in the world. The story begins with two women who lived in a house together. Each of them had a child. The first mother gave birth three days before the second one did.

At some point, the second mother apparently rolled over on her child and suffocated it. When she woke up in the middle of the night and realized what she had done, she took her dead son and swapped it with the first mother's son. When the first mother confronted the second with what she had done, the second mother denied it.

The women brought the matter before Solomon, who was the ultimate judge of such things in those days. Upon hearing this story, Solomon had a simple solution: "Bring me a sword" he commanded. Solomon then said "Divide the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other". The first woman, whose child it was said "O my lord, give her the living child and please don't kill it". The second woman said "let it be neither mine or yours, but divide it". The king answered and said "give her (the first woman) the living child and in no wise kill it: she is the mother".

So ... What does this have to do with NASA?

The Choice

With regard to its future, NASA faces a no less heart wrenching question than Solomon and the baby. It is almost inevitable that NASA will have a smaller budget for the next several years. Under the optimistic scenario i.e. the budget submitted by the White House, the agency will receive a slight decrease, from $17.77 billion to $17.71 billion. The Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriates Bill provides $18 billion for NASA. The House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill provides just $16.6 billion for NASA. With a Continuing Resolution a near certainty and with the sequester subtracted from that amount, a number very close to the House version is the result. Throw in a looming government shutdown and a debt ceiling food fight just to enhance the dysfunction.

If a budget in the range of $16.6 billion is what happens NASA will have a major problem maintaining both the International Space Station (ISS) and the SLS/Orion Exploration program. Instead of a dead baby and one in dispute, we have two babies, neither one adequately nourished. As such death for both of them is a likely through financial neglect. Given that the funds are simply not going to be available to keep the ISS alive and functioning and to fully construct and operate the SLS/Orion system, something has to give. Are we going to have to kill one to insure the other's survival? That is the choice that that is presenting itself - a clear recipe for disaster as far as NASA's human space flight plans are concerned.

Read the full article at SpaceRef

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