MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

NASA’s Empty Canteen

Posted by Martin C. Fox on November 21, 2013

I see we have launched yet another Mars mission probing for water. The search for water seems desperate. That’s because it is.

Water = possible life = NASA’s justification for existence.

NASA spent a decade trying to reach the moon. What did we get out of that exercise besides some rocks? Not much as far as I can tell beyond momentary glory and a big bill to pay.

What is a desperate government agency to do? Hey! Let’s build an International Space Station!

NASA built a number of complex, fragile space shuttles, lost some and retired the rest before completing the ISS. It was too expensive (even for the government) to keep the shuttles flying. NASA sort of forgot to come up with a replacement.

Now NASA taxpayers pay the Russians to get Americans in and out of space. Can it get worse?

NASA’s predicts maybe in 2017 it will be back in the people moving business.

At that rate Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic may already own the ISS docking slot rights.

The ISS selling point is that a lot of science that otherwise could not be done in gravity is done on the ISS. As of 21 Nov the NASA research benefits page was not working.

There was a spacewalk with the Olympic torch!!!

I’ll bet there is a lot of looking and listening going on in the ISS. Google already does a great job in that department. They do it using satellites, a Ford Focus, a movie camera and no manned space program.

I am sure scientific progress is made on the ISS. But the government does not have to deal with a real world profit and loss statement. Has the time and money spent on the ISS been cost-effective? Can the work be done more efficiently on the ground, by private companies using some good old American know-how?

Is the ISS, like the search for space water, a make-work project to justify NASA’s existence?

The question: How in the near or even mid-term will discovering water on Mars or one of Jupiter’s moons benefit you?

The answer: It won’t unless you are a Military Industrial Complex contractor or federal employee.

I hate taking a heavy coat and boots on a space vacation so launching from Kazakhstan is not for me. I will trust my space travel plans to Orbital Sciences, RocketX or Virgin Galactic.

Be seeing you

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