Saturday, January 10, 2004


posted by Michael Piwonka 6:12 PM
Bush's purported plan to set up a space station on the moon, and to send humans to Mars puts me in a small quandry. I have always been very enthusiastic about space exploration, and the spin-off technologies that result.

There are people who can't see any benefit in spending huge amounts of money on such ventures without any quickly identifiable return on that money. I've always contended that that view is the result of a lack of understanding the value of pure research.

Not only do I have no problem justifying space exploration for its technological benefits, but I also find it just plain fascinating. The exploration of the unknown is intriguiging to me.

And this leads me to my quandry. I would love to see us send a man to Mars, but the current budget deficits put a damper on my enthusiasm.

I would be hypocritical if I complained about the way American politicians waste money to buy votes or to advance their particular pork, but then suddenly agreed that we should spend the amount of money required to accomplish this lofty goal. I have heard initial estimates of a trillion dollars; sounds plausible to me.

I have a feeling that the American people will get so excited about this idea that they will "forget" about how it will be paid for (just like they seem to forget about how we pay for the Iraqi business opportunities we create for Halliburton). Which is exactly what the administration wants in an election year.

Given that, I'll be rooting for the success of NASA while I try to forget about paying for it.


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