The Trump administration has been talking about putting people on the moon. Not only that, he’s taken action in order to ensure that it happens. The White House has stated that the President has signed the Space Policy Directive 1, which orders NASA to lead an “innovative space exploration program” that sends astronauts to the moon. And eventually Mars. The signing of this Directive comes at an interesting time. It’s the 45th anniversary of the landing for the last crewed Moon mission, Apollo 17. Pence sees this as a way to build the foundation for future trips to Mars, “and beyond”. (Is Pence channeling Toy Story?)
Is this a good thing? That remains to be seen. If you support Pence’s approach (aka. Toy Story), you are arguing that the US needs more recent exploration. After all, the last Apollo mission was 45 years ago. This is necessary before sending humans to Mars. In addition, this could help to create a lunar station that would simplify any Mars voyages. But there are concerns. Mostly that this strategy won’t actually help, and that it will just delay a visit to Mars significantly. Not only that, but this is coming out of the pockets of taxpayers. So why do something that isn’t necessary, in advance of doing what you want? Well, friends, that’s called the government. I can’t defend or speak out against this strategy, as it’s one that’s often employed. That said, I’m not sure it’s the right move for this particular situation.
All that being said, my arguments mean nothing as the US is going to try to put more astronauts on the Moon. We’ve got some details listed below. The first paragraph opens with the following:
“Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;”.
Who is happy about this? NASA and other space experts. And you can’t blame them? This is their bread and butter. Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said this in a statement:
“NASA looks forward to supporting the president’s directive strategically aligning our work to return humans to the moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond. This work represents a national effort on many fronts, with America leading the way. We will engage the best and brightest across government and private industry and our partners across the world to reach new milestones in human achievement. Our workforce is committed to this effort, and even now, we are developing a flexible deep-space infrastructure to support a steady cadence of increasingly complex missions that strengthens American leadership in the boundless frontier of space. The next generation will dream even bigger and reach higher as we launch challenging new missions, and make new discoveries and technological breakthroughs on this dynamic path.”
What do you think about this? Are you skeptical like me? Or do you think that this is good news for the United States? I think space exploration is beneficial, but I am struggling to see how this will be beneficial in the long run.