Nix NASA Completely, Apollo Astronaut Says
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
Virginia TV Shooter Said, "Jehovah Spoke To Me That I Should Take Action"
What causes a guy to go off the plantation enough so that he would murder in cold blood, two of his former colleagues? Guesses are abounding, such as racial tension, mental illness, psychotropic prescription drugs, narcissism, etc. What about the angle of how a destructive religious cult shaped him in his formative years, so that later in life, he would ...
Invasion into Macedonia from Greece - Border Mayhem
Description from video page: These are the desperate scenes at Greeceâ€™s border with FYR Macedonia as overwhelmed security forces made sporadic attempts to stem the flow of invaders heading northwards.
Riot police set off stun grenades and hit invaders with batons but that did little to stop them passing into FYR Macedonia.
Skopje had declared a state of emergency on Thursday (August ...
RamZPaul: TV Reporter Murdered Live On Air
Youtube description: The gunman responsible for the live on air shooting of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward said part of his motivation for the attack was Parker making “racist comments.”
Vid that killer made:
(note the actual shooting vid is being censored fast)
Jesse Benn advocating "White Wounding: just weeks ago:huffingtonpost.com
White House Pushes Race War, Then Blames Guns For Flanagan's "Race War"
"You want a race war (expletive)?" Asked shooter
The Obama administration is blaming guns for the WBDJ-TV shooting, even though the shooter, Vester Flanagan, was influenced by the White House’s race baiting.
The White House has been falsely insinuating that racism is the dominant factor behind numerous events over the past several years, even those that didn’t involve race at all, and ...
How Google Destroyed the Internet
The internet was created to resolve a simple problem: in communications networks, any central node through which all messages passed was vulnerable to attack or takeover. To counter this, engineers designed a network where any node would pass messages to other nodes, routing around any damage.
Then came commerce and the democratization of the internet.
Under this model, frightened sheep flock to ...
|More News » |