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Back to the Moon

Apparently, Pres. Bush will shortly announce plans for a permanent moonbase and a manned Mars mission.

Sounds like a recipe for an Allen Steele or a Ben Bova future. Which, to be honest, isn't such a bad thing - even if I do want to live in a Michael Flynn tomorrow...


Jan. 9th, 2004 12:45 am (UTC)
This was rumored several weeks ago. Since then I've heard from a few folks more or less connected with NASA; their opinions on this sum up to

  • The Moon is a good place to start, it looks to be possible to eventually have a self-sustaining (or nearly so) base there.

  • The Moon base is partially military related, the base itself a 'cover' for pumping money into launch craft and the like.

  • Most of this is election year smoke and mirrors. The trade and budget deficits are going to make it tough to spend much money on programs such as this, even more so if the current financial problems trigger climbing interest rates.

My own feelings are that the Moon base is a realistic and useful goal, there's a lot that can be learned there and it's a quick trip there if something goes wrong. However, 10 to 15 years is way too soon for manned expeditions to Mars, unless the purpose is to have some more space martyrs. And I don't see where the US is going to get the money for this in the next 5 to 10 years, assuming we can avoid a catastrophic financial collapse as some are worried about.