In case you’ve been a bit distracted by the iPad, there was another important upcoming launch that was aborted on the pad so to speak. NASA’s Constellation program aimed at transporting humans (the regular kind like you and me…not just astronauts) to the moon was aborted by President Obama in his 2011 budget released this past Monday. The program’s ultimate goal was to develop a new generation of spacecraft that would facilitate human spaceflight to the moon for, according to NASA, establishing a permanent surface based outpost where everyday humans could live and work.
The defenders and objectors to this move are many as one can imagine. And it isn’t a done deal as Congress has to approve this request to reduce funding to NASA. But the one voice that seems to me to be the most logical is that of U.S. Senator Richard Shelby. He stated that Obama’s decision was akin to a “death march for the future of US human space flight”. Shelby goes on to say that the Obama Administrations’ plan is to instead fund ‘commercial’ providers who have failed to fulfill current contracts with NASA to deliver even cargo to the International Space Station.”
I’ve read quite a number of other sources inferring that those ‘commercial’ providers can include other governments. If history has taught us anything, there always seems to be a bit of landrush or landgrab by the largest majority of new visitors to the “strange new land”. Budgets, current economics, and social challenges aside, I’m wondering if this is the smartest thing to be doing…in essence saying to foreign governments that oversee very large populations, “go ahead, plant your flag, you can have the moon.”
And privatizing this type of space travel doesn’t fill me with a lot of confidence. Let’s face it, if a “corporation” could send humans to the moon safely and on a regular basis, they would have done so by now. And even if they were able to accomplish this, having a profit oriented firm in this kind of operation gives me an uneasy feeling. What if they had ulterior motives that could result in a very bad outcome for those first few intrepid explorers? After the recent Wall Street debacles, do you trust greed to send you to the moon?
For me, I think I’ll put my faith in auto body specialist Steve Eves who built a replica of a NASA Saturn V rocket that broke the world record for the tallest and heaviest model rocket that’s ever been launched and recovered.
And if you’re into conspiracies and “black ops”, maybe this budget showdown is all part of a huge deception…we let others move up to the moon and then instead of just looking for water, we go Ripley on them. Then, “game over man”…we own the moon and save money to boot!