Nix NASA Completely, Apollo Astronaut Says
2011 05 27
By Natalie Wolchover | Space.com
NASA should be scrapped in favor of a new agency, one with the sole objective of furthering America’s exploration of deep space. So says Harrison Schmitt, the last man to set foot on the moon, in a proposal published online today (May 25).
Schmitt, a member of Apollo 17 in 1972 and later a one-term U.S. senator, proposed that the new space agency be called the National Space Exploration Administration.
Astronaut Harrison Schmitt collects lunar rake samples during an Apollo 17 moonwalk in December 1973.
Fifty years after John F. Kennedy’s famous speech that set America on its glorious path to the moon, Schmitt, 75, said NASA has lost its focus. The Apollo program helped win the Cold War, strengthened national unity and set up the United States to take control of lunar resources, but NASA has withered under later presidencies, including Barack Obama’s, Schmitt said.
"I don’t blame NASA as much as I blame various administrations for not recognizing the geopolitical importance of space," he told SPACE.com. [Video: President Kennedy’s Moonshot Moment]
Schmitt’s call for overhauling the space program is partly a response to Obama’s 2012 budget, which critics say increased the funding for space technology research at NASA but did not provide adequate funding for deep-space exploration.
Other Apollo astronauts have lamented the lack of focus on exploration.
In a May 24 op-ed in USA Today, Apollo mission commanders Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan wrote, "After a half-century of remarkable progress, a coherent plan for maintaining America’s leadership in space exploration is no longer apparent."
Apollo 17 crewmates Cernan and Schmitt were the world’s last moonwalkers.
If formed in 2013, the proposed NSEA could send Americans back to the moon by 2020, Schmitt says, and establish lunar settlements and Mars exploration and settlements in the decades after that. It also would develop the ability to deflect Earth-bound asteroids. All of NASA’s current scientific endeavors would be within the purview of the National Science Foundation and other government-funded science organizations.
The significance of space
Schmitt believes refocusing on space exploration is crucial for the United States to maintain its status as a superpower.
"This is not just a competition between nations; it’s a competition between freedom and tyranny," Schmitt said. "The United States is the only power on Earth today that has in its DNA a protection of liberty, and if we decide to back off from space or any other major human endeavor, then we put that liberty in jeopardy.
"The Obama administration has basically said that they won’t pursue an exceptional space program for the United States and that they’re just as happy to have China move forward into deep space, and be dependent on Russia for transport to the International Space Station."
Schmitt, who was elected to the Senate in 1976 as a Republican from New Mexico, says China’s domination of deep space and Russia’s domination of near-Earth space would lower America’s international standing of the U.S. in the same way the Soviet Union winning the space race would have changed the outcome of the Cold War.
On top of the perceptions and politics, Schmitt argues that deep-space exploration is necessary for controlling space resources ? in particular, a fusion fuel called helium-3 that comes from the sun and is preserved in lunar soils. "Under certain financial constraints, helium-3 can be economically viable as a fuel for fusion power reactors here on Earth, and to have that dominated by another power such as China I think would be very dangerous for us. That’s just another aspect of the geopolitical significance of exploration," Schmitt said.
Read the full article at: space.com
Private space capsule launched
’UFO’ Spotted Over Australia "Likely a Private Rocket"?
Private Space Age Turns 4
The Alien Moon - Why NASA Never Returned To The Moon
NASA sells shuttle PCs without wiping secret data
To Boldly Go to New Worlds, NASA Announces ’100-Year Starship’
USA already went to Mars : NASA astronaut Gene Cernan
Was NASA’s plan to return to the moon just an illusion?
Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: NASA’s Lost Female Astronauts
Latest News from our Front Page
Syrian rebels consider joining forces with regime troops to fight al-Qa’ida (of course! why not?)
2013 12 04
The old adage to ’love thy enemy’ takes on new meaning with news that the western-backed Syrian Rebels may join forces with Assad-regime troops in order to struggle against al-Qa’ida.
Since 2011 the factions that compose the Free Syrian Army have been clashing with Syrian government troops in civil war ( in also what many have described as a western-backed mercenary ...
Nuclear experts suggest Fukushima consider ‘controlled discharge’ of toxic water into ocean
2013 12 04
Nuke News: An IAEA Director’s rationale in dumping radioactive water into the ocean? - Everybody else is doing it!
More from RT on controlled discharges...
IAEA suggests Fukushima consider ‘controlled discharge’ of toxic water into ocean
The UN nuclear watchdog has advised the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to consider dumping toxic water into the ocean after lowering the ...
Gender-Bending BPA Causes Migraines, Cancer & Infertility
2013 12 04
Researchers at the University of Kansas (UoK) have released a new study regarding bisphenol A (BPA) shows a link between migraines and the chemical.
This report found that BPA causes debilitating headaches in 1 out of 7 persons who ingest the contaminant.
Those who react to BPA with migraines are advised to avoid microwave trays, plastic bottles, canned goods and water coolers.
Is Humanity Declaring Checkmate On The New World Order?
2013 12 04
What is the line between confidence and acknowledgement of victory? Early celebration versus clear vision of how nature will handle a conflict within itself? Is victory and hope truly all imaginary or is there something more to it?
As humanity exponentially wakes up to the plans of the global elite (those in power, the ruling class, the “Illuminati” or whatever you ...
Getting Your News From Hollywood
2013 12 04
Imagine a documentary film about the Holocaust which makes no mention of Nazi Germany.
Imagine a documentary film about the 1965-66 slaughter of as many as a million “communists” in Indonesia which makes no mention of the key role in the killing played by the United States.
But there’s no need to imagine it. It’s been made, and was released this past ...
|More News » |