Practice Makes Perfect
So, the new NASA plan, according to our president, is head for Mars and not necessarily stop at the Moon first. I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I don’t have a problem with cancelling the Constellation program, and I certainly LOVE that NASA will get a bunch more money. It only gets just around one HALF of one percent of the federal budget, and with that little bit, NASA does a lot of good work that we need to have done. So, I’m happy to see NASA get more money. That money gets spent here on Earth, for jobs, tech devopment, and so on. For that, I salute President Obama. He’s doing a darn sight more for NASA than the previous occupant of his seat ever did.
But, I think it’s pretty important that we return to the Moon as part of a long-range plan of increased exploration, including going to Mars. Here’s why.
Going to Mars is a long trip. When you get there, there are no backups — no convenient repair shops if something goes wrong. Mars has a pretty hostile environment and we don’t really know what it takes to survive there. However, if we start on the Moon, we can solve problems that crop up when a rescue team is only a couple of hundred thousand miles away, somewhere between 36 million and 250 million miles away. I pretty much guarantee you that if we fling people out to Mars without the proper safeguards and “space colony building” experience, and a disaster happens, it’ll be pointed out forcefully that we should have learned our lesson in near-Earth space first.
So, hell yes, we should go back to the Moon! Take advantage of its closeness to learn how to live in a hostile environment. Please.