Obama on the Moon: “been there” (done that)

April 15, 2010

The moon is old news as far as President Barack Obama is concerned.

USA/Landing humans on asteroids and Mars and eventually living indefinitely in space is the future for the American people of Earth.

That’s the vision of  the president who was born in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy declared that the United States would send a man to the Moon.

But that was then.

“Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned,” Obama said at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “But I just have to say pretty bluntly here:  We’ve been there before.”

So, next stop asteroids.

Which begs the question — do we really want to be landing on those things? They seem like the space version of  bumper cars, whirling around and colliding with anything in their paths. What about all those movies of asteroids crashing into the Earth? 25143 ITOKAWA

My colleague who knows about such things assures me there has been a long-standing interest in landing on asteroids for scientific study.

What do you think of Obama’s new policy? Is it the Right Stuff? Or is it Lost in Space?

“Fifty years after the creation of NASA, our goal is no longer just a destination to reach,” Obama said.

“Our goal is the capacity for people to work and learn and operate and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time, ultimately in ways that are more sustainable and even indefinite.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (a full moon over Virginia in February), Reuters/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency handout (A 548-meter long asteroid is seen nearly 186 million miles from Earth in 2005), Reuters/Jim Young (Obama at Cape Canaveral)

One comment

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Obama is doing the right and smart thing.

He sees through the “simplistic assumptions” that make some people think the moon is a better option than Mars, like that is what the moon is there for (humans to live on away from Earth).

What we know of the moon amounts to this, the moon is a extremely hostile environment with the only positive being nearness.

Any settlement on the moon would be dependent on Earth to provide the basics.

Water is only available at the polls in the form of cement like formations.

Mars is much further, but the environment is infinitely friendlier to humans compared to the moon.

It has abundant water in the form of ice just inches below the surface over much of the planet.

It has a decent atmosphere thick enough to eliminate a big problem on the moon, which is all the tiny meteors that always land on the moon, because there is no atmosphere to burn them up.. On the moon even tiny sand sized meteors could cause fatalities should it hit a face shield.

This extra bit of safety means settlers wouldn’t have to handle being hit by sand grains going 10,000mph.

It has everything needed in huge quantities to create a self-sustaining human habitat.

Mars resources means terraforming small settlements is doable and affordable. Melt the subsurface water using solar arrays in low lying areas like the Hellas Basin, and you instantly increase the atmospheric pressure for example, the first step in terraforming.
In space near Earth, no location is friendlier to human habitation than Mars. Only the dwarf planet Ceres comes close.

It is so much friendlier than any other alternative, it compensates for being many times further out than the deadLY moon.

Thank goodness President Obama has the vision, and isn’t put off by the small minds and the blind who think the past is where we ought to go.

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