Philosophy can make your life a walk in the park – or it can make it a tragedy. A line of thought that has shockingly been displayed by the White House in terms of space exploration is essentially – “Been there, done that.” In terms of the long-term exploration of space – this is a catastrophic line of thought. Barack Obama’s comment in April 2010 regarding the U.S. potentially returning to the moon was; “We’ve been there…”
Really? So, in his eyes a few brief visits on the lunar regolith and we should now move on? What about building a space infrastructure? Doing so would ensure that deep space travel becomes easier and less expensive. It appears that our wayward commander-in-chief views space as less a permanent destination – and more as a tourist location.
Imagine if the settlers that had pioneered the West had seen California and said to themselves, “Well, we’ve been there, done that – let’s go someplace else!” No infrastructure would have ever been established, no settlements, no nothing. This is the ObamaSpace future? We stop briefly and allow those with the sense to follow in our dazed path to benefit? Whoever is guiding the president on this ill-informed path should join the thousands who have already been devastated by ObamaSpace’s lack of vision – in the unemployment line.
Our next stop should be the moon – this time – to stay. Lagrangian Points are space flight trips to nowhere and the asteroids should be viewed in terms of scientific research into the formation of the solar system and then as sources of minerals to be mined. Once we have a grasp on traversing the Earth-moon system – then we take the quantum leap outward to Mars – but not before then.
Initially, it will be very hard. Establishing our presence on other worlds will make the taming of the Wild West simple by comparison. But the Moon’s low gravity will make it easier and cheaper to go to Mars in the durational sense. What this means – is that instead of the Apollo-style “flags and footprints” missions that ObamaSpace philosophy espouses – that we instead take an incremental step-by-step approach to space exploration that provides a foundation, a launching point for missions further and further out into the Solar System.
Going to Mars is an order of magnitude more difficult than anything we have attempted prior to this. The president’s comments that NASA will go to the red planet “sometime in his lifetime” highlight a comprehensive lack of understanding about space flight, history and the future needs of not just the United States – but humanity.
Our planet is a finite resource. Our population – refuses to remain finite. It is as simple as that. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky had it right when he said: “”Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot remain in the cradle forever.” Obama’s statements show that he is doesn’t understand what space is – it is our future home – not Disney World or the Grand Canyon. When our sun dies – his way would see our race go extinct when that day comes. It is hoped then, that common sense, reason and an understanding of the true nature of space – will prevail.Missions » ISS »