At a time when the
is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and financial ruin, enormously expensive adventures for the sole purpose of fulfilling science fiction fantasies, is the last thing government should be doing. United States of America
President Obama told us good news and bad news recently about the
government sponsored manned space programs. United States
The good news is that NASA’s space shuttle program is ending this summer after more than 30 years of horrendously dangerous and expensive manned space flights. What’s more, the agency's planned Orion Constellation manned space program set to return astronauts to the moon by the next decade in a newly designed rocket ship has been scrapped.
Does this mean that the
government is finally and properly getting out of the men-in-space business altogether so that private commercially funded spacecraft and robots can take over the immensely hazardous and expensive activity of space exploration and science? U.S.
Unfortunately, for the American taxpayers, the answer is “No!”
The bad news is that, for now, NASA will start renting seats on Russian Soyuz space craft, at horrendously expensive premiums, for American astronauts going to and from the International Space Station. President Obama envisions commercially built American spaceships will provide this low earth orbit service in the future, at taxpayer expense, of course.
Even now, NASA is funding several private companies to develop and manufacture these new earth orbit spacecraft. So the bad news becomes worse when we discover that the intent is only to free NASA up for even more ambitious exploration efforts – like manned space voyages to an asteroid and the planet Mars.
NASA is developing a brand new deep space Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), and heavy-lift launching rocket, based on designs originally planned for the Orion spacecraft moon project. Congress wants the spaceship and launch vehicle ready to go by 2016.
So, you see, the new rocket ship and manned space program to the moon, which we thought was going to be scrapped in the interest of saving billions and billions of taxpayer dollars, is actually being recycled into this new far more elaborate and expensive manned space vehicle, and far out space cadet program, to send astronauts on expeditions to an asteroid by the year 2025, and on to Mars by the 2030s.
"We are committed to human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and look forward to developing the next generation of systems to take us there." "The NASA Authorization Act lays out a clear path forward for us by handing off transportation to the International Space Station to our private sector partners, so we can focus on deep space exploration," a NASA official declared.
Naturally, he sees things that way. He has a big government administrative agency to think about. After all, there’s an awful lot of NASA, and NASA related jobs and livelihoods at stake.
But why is it necessary to send a group of living breathing humans to an asteroid? What could they possibly hope to accomplish there, in person and in flesh, which robots couldn’t do with far less hazard and expense? Are we planning on colonizing asteroids now with human beings? What madness is this? The politicians have been watching too many Star Trek reruns, I think.
What is the logical, necessary, and practical reason for manned missions to Mars, a desolate no-man’s-land, just like the moon, where earthlings have not adapted and cannot survive without bringing their earth environment along with them at huge risk and unprofitable expense?
There was nothing on the moon worth returning for after 40 years, and there is nothing on the planet Mars now worth the risk and expense of sending manned missions to obtain.
The fact that something can be done is hardly a good reason for doing it if that is all there is.