By Marc Freedman
Columbia crash was tragic, the fallout from analysts, press,
and politicians mocking. They attack NASA, call for reform,
and question the agency's vision. It's Delusion on a Solar
of this is surprising. Post-Apollo, ever since the 70s the
drive to space has been castrated by US administrations
of both parties. Budgets have continually been slashed so
they only support minimal projects that maintain the current
shuttle fleet and limited unmanned exploration. The government
thinks nothing about $200 billion to conquer and rebuild
a third world country. But it balks at more money for NASA,
an investment that has and will demonstrate enormous returns
to the country, and that will pave the way for commercial
development and unprecedented economic growth.
appears conservative, low cost, and unimaginative ... because
that's exactly what the government has made it. The politicians
want a babysitter, not a leader.
shuttles are exactly what the cheap government paid for.
They are incredible but far from what they could have been.
The complicated 20 year old technology is marginally safe
and expensive to operate because the government only authorized
a limited design when it was developed and has never approved
the funding for a next generation of space launch and orbiter
the airlines begin forced to fly Boeing 707s, or you having
to drive a Pinto.
up into the void was never supposed to be safe. Not with
the direction and funding that the government has provided.
All astronauts know the risks and are actively engaged in
shuttle operations. We lose soldiers every day who play
police in Iraq. Nobody pays attention. We lose a few people
in a shuttle and politicos have to grandstand and convene
a national study.
of burying our head further in the sand, we should be taking
more risks, not less. Our vaunted superior American technology,
drive, and know how has been coasting since Apollo. NASA
works with the best and brightest and has shown what it
can do with stunning interplanetary probes. Given the chance,
it would gladly take us to Mars and beyond.
only a matter of will.
more, read this excellent space.com commentary -
NASA Has a Vision, It's Our Nation That Needs Glasses