In the very beginnings, NASA simply had no opposition because, there were no alternatives and, no other agency capable of channeling and thereby so capable of deeply spending such massive quantities of funding, as that perceived necessary to effectively challenge the USSR. Basically we (as taxpayers) put all of our eggs into one enormous basket, and prayed.
So, in this beginning there were no apparent reasons to ever question nor even consider developing any form of a project "work around", just was not necessary, especially when we were capable of beating the pants off those Communist, hands down, not even a fair contest. After all, if you intend to spend (according to some accounts) a hundred times as much (in equivalent dollars) towards going into space and supposedly landing and walking on the moon, what if any chance would even the Pope have against all that; Not much!.
Times and motives have changed, and the fundamental space research and exploration functions of NASA are simply more often responding as well as reacting like subordinate servants onto the likes of our NSA and DoD. Although privet (mostly communications related) investments and/or sponsorship has been increasingly funding the multi-million-dollar per day expenditures of NASA's publicly perceived technology efforts, yet apparently not sufficiently (as compared to NSA/DoD standards and needs) so as to obtaining the fullest attention and respect of NASA. Limited funding of all sorts streams inward from various official related functions, including from valid privet and corporate research request and/or satellite utilization, as even Hubble access time has been sufficiently valued so as to supplement a portion of it's enormous overall cost. So, the basic funding actually authorised by the Senate and approved by Congress is only somewhat substantial, as clearly representing basic seed moneys that which formulates only the most rudimentary operational cost (not the least bit representative of the true overall budget considerations). I could go on and on, as where I have researched into this total picture to uncover the massive real estate issues and subsequent necessary support resources at hand (supporting NASA and ultimately paid by taxpayers as well as consumers), and I'm not even having to include that "cost plus" Area-51 consideration (I forgot, my mistake, NASA has nothing officially whatsoever to do with Area-51, ????, Will, you sure could have fooled me).
Strongly benefiting NASA's interest; Our National Security Agency (NSA) has simply always been involved in virtually everything imaginable and, for certain with that of any quality optics (such as Hubble) and obviously with further regard to introducing the most advanced spy (SAR aperture radar) satellite technologies, all of which if ever required could be precisely and of course secretly focused onto Earthly targets (at a minimum 10 fold greater resolution then anything NASA/publicly has available). Plus there is always the inevitable interest of the DoD, utilizing our National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) resources, which are in their own right essentially comprised of equal if not better then NSA satellite spy capabilities through software imaging of enlargements and obvious informational refinements. These are each representing considerable yet alternative financial resources, forming that of NASA's unofficially combined NSA/DoD/NIMA space (security/spy) technology budget(s), and collectively these security and military issues are for the most part effectively being engineered, launched and further maintained by various NASA staff and/or closely associated government agencies as well as via their most closely monitored, directed and orchestrated sub-contractors and, above all this, you can bet NASA is not accommodating any of this cloak and dagger stuff for free. These are precisely good examples of where and how alternative mass (nearly unlimited) funding arrives at NASA's door step, moneys which are unfortunately slated primarily for security reasons and thereby not necessarily (generally not) being reflected in the publicly known NASA budget and, this is obviously because of their somewhat secret ("non-disclosure") relationships whenever dealing with the likes of NSA/DoD/NIMA and quite possibly the CIA, FBI and now the Homeland Security Agency as well.
Obviously, whatever helps to promote NSA/DoD/NIMA to obtain their goals, this same technology deployment also leaks towards cross-agency agendas that may even nicely fulfill official NASA (public/research) programs. Why should the public accessible portion of NASA have to invest anything towards APERTURE/RADAR high resolution and/or similar grade optical capable technologies when our hidden spy agendas have been essentially funding much of that independently, supposedly outside of the official NASA budget. Even though NSA may fully restrict the highest resolution applications (especially as that might be applied towards Earth or even the moon) and, none the less, even if so limited to merely 1/10th the potential resolution, this is still osmium performance. A Magellan-II mission for example; this would very well qualify (just as it did originally) for accessing the highest possible (otherwise restricted) resolution, and today that would represent (at equivalent satellite orbit) a resolution capability of 1.0 meter (single pass), and multiple pass resolutions capable of perhaps 0.1 meter (that's nearly newspaper reading).
It seems that every spy worthy agency has something (lots) for NASA to do (quietly). So, project funding is an ever ongoing consideration in spite of the Bush administration's wishes or perhaps specifically because of the administration's position of greater military related involvement, towards ever preparing and thus maintaining our obvious strategic space advantage at all cost, and cost it will.
NASA has simply been in the right places and at the right time to perhaps rightfully and most directly benefit the most from nearly everyone conceivably interested in space technology, as they are mostly (publicly) perceived as non-political and research orientated and yet somehow involved in almost anything as long as it helps fulfill nearly every agenda that funnels moneys into their hands, and so the cash simply keeps rolling in (annually billions extra) on top of the perceived budget, essentially forming the best of any ruse, the sting of all stings, and the public (taxpayer) is naturally none the wiser. Of course none of this spy stuff is of much value if others were to discover where and how all these associated agencies managed to develop and deploy such technology, so here again, "non-disclosure" kicks in, including all the way back to perhaps even those fantastic and to some unbelievable Apollo missions.
To circumvent; This is entirely possible, but only realistic if the Lord of space feels unthreatened. However, to utilize X-NASA employees to accomplish this approach is highly unlikely unless again NASA feels unthreatened (unlikely). Many past engineers and their most advance researchers are by now either prematurely dead, indisposed of or simply not talking, and neither would I if paid as much plus having that "non-disclosure" penalty phase always looming, which that would naturally only much matter if in fact I was even left alive to be punished.
All this spy stuff is a bit more then lethal for just the two primary sides, obviously for all those directly involved, as is also for all those indirectly involved (such as your common everyday employee of any such related agency). Implementing and maintaining as much of any ruse can be, and as alive as possible, and thereby keeping "truths" away from the public (just as equally as being kept from the other side) is obviously imperative (at all cost). And because our government agencies, such as NASA, have thus far managed to so thoroughly compartmentise and further specialize and/or narrow focus or simply limit/restrict each individuals responsibilities, somewhat to the point so that each cubical is essentially a secret world onto it's own, thus allows relatively complex issues and agendas as to being administered without the total program ever being realized or at least not well enough understood by any one individual or even by the greater lower administrative and especially not of the greater common workforce involved. In this manner, a ruse need only be known to the very highest levels of the administration, and can therefore be most easily accommodated without ever becoming fully understood let alone uncovered. In this manner, common employees essentially become pawns in whatever agenda is at hand, and thereby a "non-disclosure" policy simply becomes every agency's primary defence. Unfortunately such compartmentising and thereby "true objective" isolation also allows for mistakes easily unchecked by even the next cubical.
As in most any ruse, you simply can't have others looking over just anyone's shoulder, even though serious problems may arise such as the error in weight measurement which lost one of our most costly Mars missions, and then perhaps just as well infecting other issues and missions, such as pertaining to the Challenger disaster, Apollo-13 and even Apollo-10 and perhaps even that illusionary "Lunar Lander" consideration could easily be attributed to such "non-disclosure" (so called national security) issues, but that has obviously been the ultimate and unavoidable price of any such cold-war, as well as that of most any hidden (obviously unauthorized) agendas, and thereby those truly responsible for the ultimate consequences are always murky issues at best.
As a result of my questioning NASA's past agendas and supposed accomplishments, and purely based upon my initial research which was prompted by all that recent anti-Apollo flack. Apparently my offering free thoughts and impressions as to why and how some of our past and present day issues (such as the Apollo missions and now "GUTH Venus") has affected or perhaps infected the opportunity of this latest Venus discovery, I can more easily comprehend that NASA has little option but to further isolate their involvement towards openly dealing with the likes of myself, and perhaps trapped into further defending their questionable established past as well as current policies. As to ever admit that such a capable agency has managed to somehow have been so compromised with other (totally non-space non-research/exploration) agendas, brought about by the greater demands and subsequent funding rewards sourced from our NSA and DoD, would not likely be perceived all that well by your typical taxpayer, nor perhaps that of other National and International programs. Any reveling(s) of this nature would certainly remove a considerable degree of trust and perhaps most importantly disclose many truths, "truths" which I am certain those in power (not necessarily referring to the Bush administration) will do just about anything (perhaps absolutely anything) in order to keep such deeply rooted secrets, especially of past unfortunate deeds, under wraps.
To deeply circumcise; To administer sufficient pain killers into NASA's operations is equally complex and potentially lethal, but may in fact prove as being our only hope of ever salvaging the agency. We desperately need an agency capable of getting the job(s) done, and it requires the fortitude of those charged with the task to manage such endeavors while endangering the fewest possible civilians. Astronauts are simply not civilians, they are by their very definition "expendables", especially when any number of volunteers are so willing to chance everything (including life), even some willing to pay their own way if need be in order to become an astronaut. This expendable astronaut principle is obviously flawed and not all that realistic, mostly because of the enormous investment in those custom fitted space suits, as well as some of these individuals we might actually like, and NASA above all knows that dead astronauts makes for really bad PR, but none the less, extreme risk is the true nature of almost anything NASA is involved with.
Fortunately, the past 20 years of space exploration and technology deployment has become relatively safer. Even the way-back historically highly successful Apollo missions, that is if you were to believe anything NASA has ever proclaimed as testament to our incredible achievements towards proving out those technologies, such as that incredible "Lunar Lander" which even though we apparently never managed a single (1/6th scale) test flight here on Earth (which didn't end up in a fireball), and was somehow totally (purely on location) proven out as a totally reliable technology (whew), and therefore a proven technology which should be easily built upon (supposedly up-scaled) so as to perhaps permit accommodating the higher gravity demands of Venus. OOPS, there I go again, putting NASA in that tenuous position of having to rely upon their own supposedly proven technologies, sorry about that.
In order to accommodate the best possible (true) technologies means accommodating those individuals best suited towards engineering and implementing such, which also establishes the rational criteria that we must obviously know and understand the true facts, so that for example; we don't have to learn all over about what happens when you remove asbestos from solid-fuel rocket "O-rings". That was an expensive mistake in the first place, especially when we could have (if not for the cold-war) utilized vastly superior and likewise safer solid-fuel rockets from the USSR, and at 1/10th the cost at that, but noooooo, we had to do this the hardest way possible, the most expensive and obviously the most damaging to every individual involved (especially lethal to those astronauts onboard the Challenger). Surely we don't need to repeat that ever again.
As you can tell, I am still not all that convinced we actually have all the facts and technology "truths" as related to our Apollo missions. Therefore, and just towards being on the safe side, perhaps we need a totally new and fresh approach to future operations, such as a (manned) return to Venus, as who truly knows what other agendas and therefore "truths" could be clouded by the realities of what NASA can actually accomplish. I simply feel we may need to let go of the past, opening up records so that others can learn and thereby avoid common mistakes. And so what! if taxpayers no longer wish to fund cold-wars, especially if it is needlessly going to take out valuable astronauts or simply continue to piss-off the Chinese and obviously many other Eastern communitiues, as well as diverting and further depleting our much need resources (further loosing focus) that others and I believe should be better applied towards our next missions to Venus.
Boring maybe, and not nearly as much fun as getting someone to shoot at us, but just think about these possibilities; Lets just say if we were to totally invade Venus, and if we are lucky, start off by insulting them and/or simply siding with their Israeli counterparts in order to instigate our first inner-planetary war. What a great idea. Now I can just bet our NSA and DoD are starting to get interested in this sort of plan, as the for-profit possibilities of new weapons technology deployments are nearly unlimited. Lets face it, our military factions (obviously including NASA/NSA/NIMA and others) and their ever present weapons contractors, will not sufficiently profit nor benefit from any humane notions of competitively transporting that of merely paying passengers to/from Venus.
Perhaps what's to be needed is unfortunately going to be just this; I truly believe others as well as I have all sorts of interesting concepts and worthy antagonistic ideas which should really piss-off those Venus heathens. Just think, in no time at all, we could be gearing up for the real "WAR OF THE WORLDS". Now, I can't help but to think we are talking really big bucks, just the sort of challenge our military and NSA have thrived upon. Excuse me! this is September 12, 2001, I don't think so. Going by what transpired yesterday, we apparently haven't learned a damn thing about picking sides.
My ever developing thoughts as to potentially restructuring NASA should be considered as equally antagonistic, especially if you happen to be one of those existing braille NASA types. Sorry again, but I simply see no other avenues without stepping on a few thousand (over paid and obviously overly entitled) NASA types. And it's not simply the amounts being directly paid to these individuals, but vastly more costly incredible benefits and infrastructure investments per employee as well as the wasted time and talents that could obviously have been better focused.
If we are in fact going to ever attract the quality of individuals and pay them sufficiently, we simply need to unload the deadwood and underlying agendas currently draining away at what limited resources are at hand. This is obviously not "rocket science", it's just a whole lot of common sense. OOPS, here I go again, what am I thinking, as governmental agencies go, there is never any room for common sense. Sorry about that.
It is the opinion of others as well as myself, if our beloved NASA is ever going to attract sufficient privet investors and thereby serious legitimate sponsors, especially of those geared towards transporting round trip excursions to/from "GUTH Venus", something (a lot) has to change.
THE CHANGES I CAN FORESEE: