Written by Radio

Mars and Space Exploration

So what to make of all the excitement we’ve had over the near year period about space exploration?
We’ve had the disappointment of the Beagle 2 which does now seem lost. Then the success of NASA’s first Mars lander, including this spectacular Martian landscape. And now the lander has rolled out it’s lander.
This is all very exciting, and I love it. However, I am slightly concerned about Bush’s plans for space exploration.
It’s a terrible shame that we haven’t been back to the moon for such a long time. A function of the Cold War ending, and tightened budgets. There aren’t vast amounts of immediate gains to be had from heading into space, and if you balance the books, you’re not going to waste cash on space exploration. But I’m just enormously cynical about the whole thing. It gets announced in a presidential election year, and I simply don’t believe that Bush can see it through. He’s only got a maximum of four more years in charge to do anything, and his budget is in a mess. I simply don’t believe that there’s the will to carry this sort of thing out.
Is $1bn over five years enough additional funding to find a successor to the space shuttle. I know absolutely nothing about the costs of space travel, but that strikes me as nothing at all.
The most unrealistic part of these plans is the development of a shuttle replacement by 2008 for flight in 2014. Can this sort of thing be turned around that quickly?
Sadly, I think that most of this is pie in the sky. The budgets won’t get passed, and if Bush fails to be re-elected the whole thing will go no further than it did with his father.