Would you like a side of Moon or a helping of Mars?
I read through a pretty good presentation today about why we MUST go to the Moon (via Popurls via Reddit). While I agree with the premise of the deck (we must go because exploration = advancement of science), I’m not sure if the Moon should be our next destination. BA discussed this a week or so back on his blog. I am a member of the Planetary Society and I fall in line with their plan:
Leave the Moon to other nations and the private sector. The United States should focus on touring NEOs and ultimately Mars. In their mission agenda, A New Roadmap for Human Space Exploration, they advocate the following incremental steps:
- FIRST human trip beyond the Moon
- FIRST human trip beyond Earth’s gravity well
- FIRST human step into interplanetary space
- FIRST human mission to a Near-Earth Object
- FIRST human mission to the Mars gravity well
- FIRST human mission to the Mars surface
To me this is logical, progressive, and daring. I believe that an agenda like this would keep the public excited and tuned in as we attempt to push further and further beyond our home planet. Exactly like something that Shackleton (read the Moon presentation above) would do.
The new Obeezie administration will have some tough choices to make when it comes to NASA and the country’s space priorities. You have people clamoring for a return to the Moon or on beyond, but at the sametime, you have the MSL sucking the wind out of everything, the Ares program on weeble-woble legs, the nation is a serious financial funk, and it looks like no one cares about space anymore.
If you are reading this, do your part. Help to keep the spirit of exploration alive…