According to Fox News, a round-trip ticket to the orbiting International space station in 2011 and 2012 will cost NASA as much as $51 million per person, up almost 100% from the current $26 million. The price will jump to $56 million in 2013 and 2014. That’s $112 to $168 million taxpayer dollars every 6 months or so to finance the adventures of 2 or 3 new space cadets.
Meanwhile, the federal government bureaucracy will continue funding an already defunct rocket to nowhere program until March, 2011, costing taxpayers another half billion unnecessary dollars. Why? – Because several wily congressmen inserted clauses into NASA’s 2010 budget to protect all the lucrative “space jobs” in their home districts, effectively preventing NASA from shutting down the doomed program.
On top of that, NASA says it wants to modernize the Kennedy Space Center into a "21st-century spaceport." Manned missions to Mars are in the planning stages, which, of course, will eventually cost us many more billions.
But why send good men and women deep into the dangerous vacuum of space when you can send a robot instead? If it were up to me, NASA, and the entire government space program boondoggle would be scrapped immediately; space station, space shuttles, space cadets, and all; especially the proposed manned space missions to Mars. Space technology and development should rightly and properly have been left to the private sector from the beginning. Private business would never tolerate such unprofitable waste.
I remember when all this nationalist space race collective hysteria started. The year was 1957. The Russians had just launched Sputnik, their first tiny Earth orbiting satellite. Americans were shocked and frightened; the cold war was quickening; Rooskies were winning the space race; and politicians were having a field day.
Twelve years, and many billions of dollars later, in the summer of ’69, President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade was realized. Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, called the feat: “One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.” Almost makes you want to cry, doesn’t it?
Americans were positively giddy with space age patriotic pride and all the fresh arrogance that goes with it. Space was now the final American frontier. We Americans were going to conquer and then colonize the universe. Science fiction was coming true. Money was no obstacle. We had to win the space race at all costs.
That was nearly 42 years ago. There have indeed been untold billions in costs. Lots of space cadets have come and gone. Several have been killed. But there is no colony on the moon, nor will there be. Mankind is not adapted for a decent life on the moon. We all know that.
The moon is a desolate dangerous place. It’s dust and rocks; extreme hot and cold; deadly cosmic rays; no atmosphere; no air; no water; no food; no life; and, aside from an admittedly spectacular view of Earth, and the vastness of outer space, no entertainment – nothing that people need or want. (When there is a potential profit to be made in space, you can bet that astute businessmen will find it and start supplying people with what they want.)
In short, there was never any practical reason in the first place to send men in a tin can rocket ship to the moon, except perhaps to have them jump around in the low gravity for the cameras, collect some rocks, and hit a few golf balls.
Like the climbing of
, however, it was done solely because it could be done. Our proud nation had to be the first to do it – you know – for the billions worth in bragging rights, and for those lucky individuals involved in the government feeding frenzy at the expense of American taxpayers. We won the space race! We won it! And, nobody is going to take it away from us. Mt. Everest
Yes, we loony Americans will probably be the first nation to set a collective human foot on Mars too, where we already know for sure there is only more dust and rocks; extreme temperatures; no air; no water; no food; and no entertainment. Mankind is not adapted to any kind of decent life on Mars. We all know that, but we’ll go there anyway, in person and in the flesh, because we’re Americans, and we can.
Never mind the huge expense, the unreasonable risks of harm, and the fact that there is no profit in it; no practical reason whatsoever to do it; that’s not the point. We’ve been spaced out and caught up in another mass deception in our collective consciousness for the last 54 years.
We need to fulfill the awesome scientific pipe dreams of Star Trek and Star Wars.
So says the mighty American Space Authority!