NASA and its Discontents
A blogger I respect, Rand Simberg, does not like NASA’s response to the president’s plan. He’s not alone. Glenn Reynolds has also expressed reservations. Most of the concern it seems, is about the financial aspects; understandable, I suppose, after unprecedented natural disasters, record national spending (and debt!) and tax cuts. Besides, the wish-list of national aspirations is somewhat larger than I ever remember it being.
I’ve written (and thought) often over the years about the seeming loss of direction at at NASA after the Apollo missions concluded, and I decided years ago that the agency perfectly reflects the public attitudes on space. In other words – yer gettin’ what ya asked for, buddy.
Well, maybe. I also see that the public is very interested in the Mars probes, the Deep Impact comet mission, and the Hubble Space Telescope. And it’s not the extra costs and dangers of manned flight that people ever seem to object to. It’s the lack of returns.
For what it’s worth, my opinion is that NASA is indeed pulling out of it’s doldrums, albeit very late in the game. I never understood why NASA undertook such missions as Destination Earth” or the Mission to Planet Earth – faces the wrong way, I’d say. And I contend that any mission to the planets, inner, outer, or in-between, is a step in the right direction.