It’s hard to imagine that over 40 years have passed since we put a man on the moon. Our lunar cousin beckons for us to return, though the prospect of such a mission has all but been shot down permanently by NASA.
According to the space agency, we need to keep our priorities straight. Our finances aren’t as endless as some would like to believe. NASA’s Charles Bolden stated that if the next presidential administration reverses this decision and pursues a manned mission to the moon, we may never leave our planet. Just let that sink in for a moment.
With all the party bickering, threats, political red tape, and expenses that comes with leading the world in space exploration, NASA simply cannot take any more budget cuts and mission changeups.
Why is it important that we travel to space anyways? Why not take all of the billions spent on research and development and put them somewhere useful? Perhaps spend it on creating an alternative fuel source, or getting clean water to every home in America, or protecting endangered species? The answer is one of complexity and extreme simplicity.
The Earth is dying. Not now or anytime in the foreseeable future, but it has a life expectancy nonetheless. The cosmos represent our best hope at continuing the human race. Not only that, but by exploring the stars, we can find ways of reducing our demand on the Earth’s natural resources, such as water and metal.
Thanks to a group of resourceful (and wealthy) individuals, we will snatch an asteroid for mining within in the next decade. And if they fail in their mission, NASA will pick up the slack with their own planned goal of studying asteroids by the year 2025. This is why we cannot make a daring adventure back to the moon. We have already been there and done that. It’s time to move on towards the future.
We will colonize space. That is not a question of if, but a matter of when and where the first destination will be. Mars is the most logical choice, and plans are already underway to bring us there, and soon. Let’s hope the next leadership administration heeds Charles Bolden’s warning.
Sure, we all know the future of space exploration rests not with the government, but with the private industry. However, the private industry has not yet reached a sustainable level of efficiency, and still needs occasional financial boosts from the professionals. If that boost is no longer available due to budget cuts, we may as well say goodbye to the stars for good.
Here’s to the future.
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