Monday, January 21, 2008

Not Meant To Work, Just Meant To Be

When George Bush announced his "Return To The Moon" proposal in the midst of the 2004 election campaign, it sank like a rock from the American collective consciousness. Some felt the whole idea of building a Lunar base in preparation for a Mars Mission was a distraction; some felt that revisiting 30 year old achievements was about as exciting as looking at your wife's knees (ie. not very); and some felt the purpose of the proposal was merely to be a proposal, a political tool Bush could whip out whenever he was accused of being anti science.

Turns out we were all right. The Bush plan is "starting to crumble" from a lack of funding and a lack of enthusiasm among both the public and space planners:

It's becoming painfully obvious that the Moon is not a stepping-stone for manned Mars operations but is instead a stumbling block," says Robert Farquhar, a veteran of planning and operating planetary and deep-space missions.


[The Planetary Society] is co-hosting the invitation-only VSE replanning session with Stanford. A lot of people going to the meeting believe "the Moon is so yesterday," says [Lou] Friedman, head of [The Planetary Society].

"It just does not feel right. And there's growing belief that, at high cost, it offers minimal engineering benefit for later manned Mars operations."

Exactly. You didn't even need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

As an alternative, a growing corps of scientists, engineers and astronauts is arguing that, once Bush is gone out the door, efforts should be directed towards an Asteroid mission, a mission to the LaGrange points, and a "direct to Mars" project.

As with so many things Bush-related, the early OOs will turn out have been wasted time for NASA and the American space effort.


Anonymous said...

"Not Meant To Work, Just Meant To Be."

That describes the actual outcome of so many Liberal social policies. It doesn't matter if they're effective or not, as long as it makes you feel good about implementing them, then mission accomplished. Sex education, gun control, 'war on poverty' HA, social justice, etc. The fact that it works in theory but not in practise is no cause for alarm amongst Liberal ideologues. It just means you need more of it.

Ti-Guy said...

When you tried re-engage "comment moderation," you must have hit the "immoderate comments" feature, by mistake, BCL.

..although it was good to find out that "The Return to the Moon" initiatve was a Liberal policy. there nothing we don't control?

John Mashey said...

But perhaps this did help put the Triana satellite on ice, did it not?

Anonymous said...

IMHO a major underpinning of the moon/Mars business was to provide an excuse to cut back on the earth-observing sats (the ones that gather the climate data). As with Iraq, the Bush regime is constantly on the lookout for means of enforcing its "legacy" on future administrations.

Anonymous said...

="As with so many things Bush-related, the early OOs will turn out have been wasted time for NASA and the American space effort."=

Hardly. Work has been underway for several years on the new Ares V heavy lift rocket and Ares 1 crew launch vehicle. Both are designed for moon and Mars missions. The Altair lunar lander is progressing also. The new rockets are expected about 2015.

The shuttle fleet is scheduled to retire in 2010, but I think they will be kept in service for several extra years.

- Paul S

Anonymous said...

Steve, out of curiousity, what earth observing satellite missions in particular do you feel are being shortchanged?

- Paul S