Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Here we go again -- Part 4

There also aren't many Bush administration policies that I agree with, but that doesn't mean I am unwilling to acknowledge where the President is absolutely leading us in the right direction. His much hyped New Vision for NASA is, I believe, a terrific step forward for the country and the world.

For better or worse, human spaceflight has stagnated during the Space Shuttle era. The Reagan and first Bush administrations seemed to have viewed the space shuttle as nothing more than a convenient delivery van in the weaponizing of space. (Many of the shuttle flights in the 80s and early 90s carried classified Department of Defense payloads.) The Clinton years saw the shuttle program sidetracked into a expensive construction project of dubious value -- the International Space Station.

While humans in space had become a high-tech construction gang, plucky and relatively inexpensive robots were doing the real exploring.

The refocus of human spaceflight on exploration missions to the Moon and Mars is exactly what we need. It's good for science, good for business, and good for national pride. It's good for the world.

The first human to walk on the surface of Mars is probably alive right now -- a teenager most likely. He or she will need a top notch education in science and mathematics to insure his or her future as an astronaut. So the question right now for President Bush is -- will that future astronaut be the product of an American school system?