Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Space Race Number Two, Even More Pointless to Me and You

Forty years after the U.S put a man on the moon it is now extremely important that we invest billions more into our space program in order to beat China there, says Buzz Aldrin the second man to set foot on the moon back in 1969 (article ). He further wishes to put more money into the NASA pocketbook in order to remove the five year gap in which they will not have a regular shuttle fleet to travel to and from the International space station. God forbid we had to rely on the commies....I mean the Russians.

Granted I was not alive in 1969 when the Apollo Shuttle landed on the moon so that romantic patriotic happening is nothing but a story to me, but that may just be why I can think about this situation a little more clearly than Mr. Aldrin. During the cold war the American people were built up beyond any sense that we had to beat the Soviets at everything, we were brought down as a country into the world of grade school playground competition.

Now its 2008, there is no sane person or country in the world that would argue that the U.S is the most powerful nation in the world, but yet we still feel the need to prove our preeminence by re-beating China to the Moon.

Who cares if Russia, China, Japan or any other country in the world makes leaps into space exploration? Isn't that a good thing? Isn't it about time that more and different minds started to figure out the questions of the universe? Would working together on international science projects not bring the people of the world a little bit closer?

When the over zealous finger on the button Americans see China making efforts to gain a foothold on space they immediately connect it with an attempt at military supremacy. It's as if there is an instantaneous flashback to the cold war. Fortunately, the world has changed a lot since 1969, at the time the United State's communist witch hunt was tearing the world apart. Now in 2008 the majority of the world has a different attitude in which countries are trying their best to get along and compromise rather than wage war (At least theoretically, in practice, eh we're working on it). This isn't a time for space race number two, this is a time when space ready countries should be working together to further science more quickly and efficiently.

I say efficiently because this is yet another point that must be brought up about the space program. This is not to say that there have not been scientific discoveries directly attributable to the space program, but it seems for the amount of money that is poured into NASA much more should be expected. Sure, with 300 years of funding we may be able to move to a distant planet when we destroy our own. Unfortunately, at the rate we are going this one won't make it that long. Maybe saving the planet we're on should be just one of the things that we should more thoughtfully invest our money in, rather than making a command post on the moon. Poverty, health insurance, disease, starvation, pollution and global warming are just a few of the things that come to mind as being more important than an elitist's ability to go on an “Out of this world!” vacation and stay on the moon.

So Mr. Aldrin although I recognize the romance in what you are saying, it is time that we re-think and re-organize our space program, turn competition in cooperation and see if we can't further some science and save some people at the same time.

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