The Obama administration is killing Constellation, NASA’s ambitious back-to-the moon program. And now a collective, damn. The program is being scrapped in two years. As someone who has watched every manned rocket/shuttle launch since Alan Shepard on May 5, 1961.
I love space exploration and initially I was disappointed in hearing that the budget for NASA was reduced considerably making another, maybe even a colonization of the moon out of the question. It’s time to turn it over to private industry. While this is not as glamorous, it probably is the right move. If a company can start a space port in New Mexico then they can fly people around someday, creating jobs and manufacturing right here in the U.S. instead of shipping those jobs overseas. Then NASA can do what it does best, unmanned trips to all of the planets including Pluto (which I still believe is a planet).
As Peter Diamandis, the chairman and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation, observed on Monday:
“It’s been the pattern of what the US capitalist system does well – the government starts something and industry takes it over and injects innovation, brings down the cost and increases reliability.
“We’ve seen this in every industry that’s been transferred from government to the private sector. And, frankly, space needs it more than anybody else, otherwise we are going to lose the race. There’s no question – China, India and other parts of the world will eat our lunch in space on a price-performance basis.”
Galaxy photography and unmanned missions to the farthest parts of our own piece of the Milky Way is a good thing. NASA really does this phenomenally and money should still go into these programs.
I heard a spokesman from the OMB give reporters the reasoning behind not going back to the moon by saying “why should we retrace steps that have been taken before”? That was a dumb answer. If we had said this after Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the Northwest to the Pacific in 1804 (after Alexander Mackenzie and Cabeza de Vaca), there would be nothing West of the Rockies, because “we’ve been there already”. There would have been no westward expansion of the United States.