I’ve read where NASA has a proposal for a new initiative to go to the moon. The critics are already making their knee-jerk reaction of saying it costs too much and the money is needed for other things closer to home.
Yes, it will cost a lot. Over many years. What do the critics think they do with the money? Load in in a rocket and send it to the moon? Make moonmen rich? No. It all stays right here on good old Earth. In fact most of it here in good old USA. The money goes back into the economy. It makes whole industries run. It pays for materials that someone has to sell. It pays wages that employ people like you or me. It pays for high tech jobs and low tech ones as well. Can you imagine the bill just for sweeping the floors at NASA?
The shuttle program is near it’s endpoint. It has accomplished many, if not most of it’s goals. But it’s old technology – 30 years old at least, and it takes years to bring the next program online. NASA has obviously been working on the future of the space program all along, so why is it such a surprise that it is here now?
The critics are always quick to point out how the money could be spent:
Hurricane relief. The weaknesses of the New Orleans levee system were pointed out years ago, but the government hemmed and hawed about doing anything about it. Then sat on their hands while the disaster got out of hand. NASA rides out hurricanes every year.
The Military. Aren’t we already spending enough on the Military? Besides, how would our armed forces like to operate without their sattelite comminications, cruise missles, night-vision goggles, battle-hardened laptops and computer-controlled tanks? All that technology was developed if not directly for, then by companies supported by, the space program.
Alternative energy sources. Don’t you think an agency that specialises in sending people far away from Earth where there isn’t a gas station on the next corner, might have some ideas on that?
Education. Wait a minute. The phrase might be “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist…” but the sheer number of scientists and other highly-educated people that would be employed in pursuit of a new space iniative would guarantee a lively and healthy education system. Not to mention the new information and pure science discovered by the space program so far. NASA has always had education as one of it’s primary goals, and it extends right down to elementary school levels.
No, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (I’m just the son of one.) to see that NASA’s work needs to go on. It would be a pity if the country’s goals became so short-sighted as to forget to invest in the future of a proven program like NASA.