Why go to the Moon

Men have traveled from the Earth to the Moon, and twelve men have walked on its surface.  If a space program that provides such opportunities effects no improvements for this nation or for the world, should the U.S. continue to support it?

With the knowledge acquired in the process, the U.S. must move forward with exploration and research.  It is in the blood to explore; to stand still is to rust and rot.

To protect at least some of the population, they must be moved away from Earth.  At some point in the future, whether near or far, Earth will endure another major impact.  This is not a matter of “if” but of “when.”  For the survival of humanity, some should endeavor to be elsewhere when this event takes place.

For a commerce-driven nation, colonization of the Moon makes perfect sense.  The Moon is one of many examples of near objects in the Solar System that are replete with minerals and metals that would net trillions in trade.  Surely these materials would make mining and recovery missions worthwhile and highly desirable.

National leaders of the U.S., both in the legislature and in the White House, argue that dreams of space exploration must  be cut back because there are too few resources for the space program.  They say that only by scaling back will the country have any hope of balancing the budget.  These same leaders hardly blink when viewing the truly mind-boggling expenses of running two separate wars on foreign soil.

Were the national will of such a character that people pushed back against these empty claims, the nation could recover enough from our wars, more than $25 billion each month, to fund NASA handily.  “In the 10 years since U.S. troops went into Afghanistan to root out the al Qaeda leaders behind the September 11, 2001, attacks, spending on the conflicts totaled $2.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion.” This bumps up against the simple fact that the leaders will not make the hard decisions to move this nation into a more hopeful future, even to save lives of military men and women and bring peace.

A point approaches at which America may be forced to realize that it should have built on the Moon when the national will and the presence on its surface were in parallel.  As the original astronauts age and die (like Neil Armstrong), America has yet to honor their service with follow-up action.  “U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took a giant leap for mankind when he became the first person to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82.”  Forty-plus years is too long to let inaction rule dreams of becoming spacefarers.  The American space exploration program needs an immediate kick in the pants and continuing infusions of crucial capital in order to be as effective as it has been in the past.

During the past forty years, political capital has been gathered and wasted in efforts to control or kill the U.S. space program.  When American astronauts did walk the Moon’s surface, it was only to show the Soviet Union that they could, not to advance to another, higher step in discovery and exploration.

National leaders, afflicted by apathy, competing interests and craven pursuit of wars and other international intrigues, continue daily to abdicate their responsibility to drive toward a sensible scientific path forward.  America must find more effective ways to strive for the future than the waste of resources on secret programs that end up killing people and putting nations at war.  A brighter future of discovery and excitement awaits the American space exploration program.

Despite evidence of spin-off technologies in multiple disciplines, those who claim space programs are a waste of money cling doggedly to their assertions that valid scientific discoveries will be made only at planet-bound facilities.  This ignores the wealth of knowledge gained from orbiting satellites and space-based probes.

For Earth’s safety and the realization of a wonderfully constructive future, America must begin to think beyond artificial limitations, to go further than thoughts of the last war.  The resources on hand must be multiplied by a common will to use them in exploration, discovery and colonization.

In short, to do what America should, it must be as smart as its citizens have always claimed.  And it must do so now.