NASA Gets Its Funding

The Washington Post reports that Tom DeLay managed to get the full funding for NASA’s Moon and Mars initiatives. Given that the Johnson Space Center is in DeLay’s district, that’s not a particularly big surprise.

As much as I despise pork-barrel politics, NASA’s new mission is a bold and audacious attempt to expand the frontiers of mankind. The potential benefits of these programs are great — the lunar surface is rich in Helium-3, an isotope with great potential for generating massive amounts of power. If $16.2 billion can get us that much closer to a source of energy that will remove our dependence on fossil fuels, it will have been worth it.

The CEV or Crewed Exploration Vehicle design is a much more efficient design than the Shuttle, and if they can use the already man-rated Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters to lift the CEV into orbit, that would increase the efficiency of the program and negate the need to either man-rate the existing Delta-IV boosters or build a new launching system. Using as many off-the-shelf systems as possible will help keep costs down.

The future of space travel still lies in the commercial sector, but if government and industry can work cooperatively on developing new space technologies, the future of manned space exploration can become more than sticking a few astronauts into low orbit. Space is the distance required to get somewhere, not a destination in itself. The moon, Mars, and the rest of the solar system provides unimaginable amounts of resources, energy, and scientific discovery. For far too long our space program has suffered from a shocking lack of vision when it comes to manned space exploration. Programs like the Mars rovers Sprit and Opportunity have shown that NASA can put together successful robotic missions that exceed all their expectations. If NASA can do the same with its new mission, the future of manned space exploration can once again get back on track.

3 thoughts on “NASA Gets Its Funding

  1. Now if only we could give DeLay a one-way test drive on the new NASA projects he’s directing so much blue-state money towards.

    Honestly though, why does DeLay hate the private sector so much? Why do Tom DeLay and Jay Reding believe that space exploration is best handled by the government when the market could handle it so much more efficiently? Perhaps churches could even become involved and allocate some dollars towards faith-based space exploration. They may even discover the utopian heavenly body where they’ll end up after the Rapture.

    In the mean time, however, it seems there are no limits to the expansion of government being thrust upon us by the likes of Tom DeLay and Jay Reding.

  2. “Why do Tom DeLay and Jay Reding believe that space exploration is best handled by the government when the market could handle it so much more efficiently?”

    Reading what Jay ACTUALLY said helps:
    “The future of space travel still lies in the commercial sector . . “

  3. James Ph., I’ll make you a deal. If you and Jay can agree that “the future” of health care lies in the commercial sector so long as we can have universal single-payer health insurance TODAY, I will agree that funding for exploration of Mars and the moon be done through massive new borrowing this decade but that (wink, wink) the “private sector” take over space exploration at some hypothetical time in the future.

    I must admit I enjoy the right’s latest “small government” concept of “deferred deregulation”. Does it really ease you guys’ mind when allocating hundreds of billions of dollars towards pet projects that “some wonderful day in the future, this will be privately funded”? But by God, the trough had better continue to be filled by taxpayers today!

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