40 years… and we haven’t gone back. 40 years… And we haven’t gone any further. Sure, lets celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landings. Hey, I went to see Moon this weekend in honor of it. (Good movie, Sam Rockwell was great.)
It has been a dubious 40 years for space travel. We are a far cry away from the glory of Apollo. Since Apollo 17 left the Moon in December of ’72, we have done nothing but poke around the celestial bushes. The shuttle program is a failed experiment that never delivered on it’s original promise. The International Space Station is a scaled down version of itself, that is not doing much more than what could have been achieved in the 70’s. The most visible success that has provided both scientific fulfillment and generated public interest is Hubble. And that’s just a flying telescope. Where are the people? Human space flight is what gets people GAGA for NASA.
There are many very good reasons why we should go back to Luna and establish a permanent manned presence there.
Here are a few:
1) Stoke the collective imagination again. Especially now. Get people excited. This country needs something to get behind. To show that we can do something “that is hard.”
2) Science! You can construct a radio telescope on the far side of the moon. Free from the radio interference of Earth, and the size of Texas. That’s big.
3) Practice for Mars. Test the technologies we’ll eventually use for missions to Mars. But test them in your backyard.
4) Abundant energy. They’ve got this thing on the Moon called Helium-3. You can find it in the lunar soil. Helium-3 is a fuel for nuclear fusion. Can’t really find the stuff on Earth. But it’s like, everywhere on the moon. The potential for clean and abundant energy, well I shouldn’t have to tell you why that’s good.
I know it’s a difficult time to make requests for weekend jaunts to the Moon. But lets hope the next 40 years aren’t as stagnate as the last. There is more technology in my iPhone than the Apollo astronauts had at their disposal and yet we’re still stuck. I can not and will not believe that the only reason we went to the Moon was to outdo the Russians. What about the human spirit to explore (and conquer?)
Lets go back faster, better, cheaper.