Thursday, January 08, 2004

Why go to the moon?

President Bush wants to go to the Moon, and then to Mars. That's one hell of a bad idea with the economy still in such sad shape. Why should the American taxpayer care about going to the Moon or Mars. Plenty of people have enough trouble getting groceries and affordable medicine to get excited about space travel. I guess the idea is to distract the public with dreams of Moon landings to keep the focus away from the debacle in Iraq and more terrorism threats. It worked in the 1960s when everyone was afraid of war with the USSR, so I guess it could work now.

As much as I like the idea of increased space exploration, we need a cheap way to get materials and people into orbit first. A space elevator would be the best solution to this problem, giving us a stable orbital platform from which to assemble a Moon lander craft and ultimately a Mars lander. But I don't hear anything from the Bush administration about space elevator research. That's probably because it's the most boring but sensible proposal for getting to orbit, and it's not going to capture the imagination of the average American like a Moon landing. Nothing gets public attention like lavish unnecessary spending, and that's just what Bush is going to propose.

No comments: