Saturday, February 6, 2010

Man Off The Moon

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George W. Bush's boy-like vision of putting more astronauts on the moon by 2020 was crushed this week with an announcement from the Obama administration that the Constellation program is being canceled.

The program was to use existing technology to put humans back in moon boots and, presumably, make moon-landing conspiracy theorists shut the hell up, once and for all. But, apparently, spending billions of dollars and thousands of hours to do something you've already done is "faux pas" for well-functioning government agencies like NASA.

So, when looking at funding requests last week, the Obama administration examined the over-budget, behind schedule, lacking in innovation project, and cut it. Not without criticism, of course: the cut will mean lost jobs at Alabama's Marshall Space Flight Center, and Republican representatives are not shy to use this as political fodder, calling it the "death march for the future of US space flight."

This hyperbolic statement completely ignores the $6 billion funding boost promised to NASA over the next five years. It also ignores the progress made in sending robots off to do our exploration for us, without the risks of radiation, dehydration, muscle atrophy, and cabin fever.

I mean, look how long the Mars rovers lasted - they are both over 2000 Martian days over warranty. And have you seen the new R2 robots from GM? Let's face pitiful humans are on the way out of this space race we started a mere 53 years ago.

~Rheanna Sand

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