Posted by: Dr Churchill | March 26, 2019

Indeed the Moon is made of Swiss Cheese…

President Trump has promised big things in Space, and yet most of his plans and promises, haven’t even been accepted by the various organizational leaders that command the United States Space program as real…

We now know how the AirForce killed the separate Space Command, and how the Space companies have sidelined the Space Councel, but what we don’t know is what is going to happen with NASA and her endeavors for the future.

Vice President Mike Pence gave us an inkling today by saying this on his speech about Space and America’s involvement in its exploration.

“It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return astronauts to the moon within the next five years,” Pence said. Trump weighed in with this statement: “This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond.”
–Mike Pence VP on October 5th of 2017.

Yet this talk sounds eerily familiar… like the past one herewith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FERa2oxWhQ

And just as familiar, once again is how NASA isn’t getting any “new money” out of the existing budget in order to accomplish the lofty goals, despite VP Mike Pence’s laying out good reasons for going to the Moon and beyond, as Vice President Mike Pence tasked us with “landing humans on the Moon by 2024.”
–Mike Pence VP on March 26th of 2019. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgPC-KxqxyY]

The NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine replied: “We are up for the challenge.”
–Jim Bridenstine (NASA Admin) on March 26th of 2019.
[One could learn more about NASA’s plans to use our Space Launch System to send Orion to lunar orbit: https://lnkd.in/eWQX_Gn%5D

Indeed to an uninterested and casual observer with deep knowledge of government budgets and agency requirements along with a cost cutting accountant’s savvy for mission budgets — it might seem that the Trump administration is playing pretty much the same game that was played by Bill Clinton, and by both Papa-Bush and Bush Jr, as well as the game played by Obama in their exhortations about going off of our home-rock and into space: Promise them the moon (or Mars, or an asteroid) because it sounds really good, but don’t do anything of substance, in order to actually support that stated space exploration goal.

Am saying that because if Americans are going to be landing on the moon in five years — we best expect someone other than NASA, someone in the private sector to be behind this lofty goal and magnificent achievement.

It has to simply be a private mission of exploration, because the U.S. Government’s space program can’t even fly circles around the Earth anymore, without the Russian Soyouz providing the “Taxi-ride” to the Space station.

Back in the day of our space infancy, President John F. Kennedy promised the moon to all of us, when he gave us the famous 1962 Moonshot speech, but he also gave NASA a huge round of funding in order to make the Moonshot achievable. His dream actually happened because of that, and for about five years running, the space agency’s budget was in the stratosphere compared to the $21 billion earmarked for 2019 — peaking at twice the current amount – accounting for inflation.

Getting to the moon was not cheap then, and it certainly is not going to be cheap today.

Because going back to the Moon is not going to be like the last time, and it is not going to be any easier than last time…

Regardless — today the Trump Administration has pledged to put humans back on the moon within five years.

But the promise rings hollow in the context of history.

Because without another JFK-like commitment, and without some serious funding approved by Congress, the U.S. government will never put humans on the moon again, let alone send anyone to Mars.

It’s a sad truth for space exploration fans. But just look at the history of similar promises:

We got to the moon during President Richard Nixon’s watch (every human who ever visited the moon did so during Nixon’s presidency). But Nixon also presided over the end of human lunar exploration, opting instead to launch development of the space shuttle, which from 1981 to 2011 allowed astronauts to fly in circles around Earth.

Once Nixon shifted political space gears, his immediate successors held the course. Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan didn’t envision or articulate anything beyond near-Earth spaceflight during their presidencies.
Then, finally, a vision.

On July 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush proposed putting humans back on the moon and eventually sending people to Mars. ‘’Our goal is nothing less than to establish the United States as the preeminent spacefaring nation,” the elder Bush said.

Nothing even remotely close happened. And then Bill Clinton’s space policy focused on Earth and space science, not human exploration of the great beyond.
Not to be outdone by his father, George W. Bush rekindled hopes of humans exploring the final frontier.

“Inspired by all that has come before, and guided by clear objectives, today we set a new course for America’s space program,” W said in an uplifting speech at NASA headquarters on Jan. 14, 2004. “We will give NASA a new focus and vision for future exploration. We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon and to prepare for new journeys to the worlds beyond our own.”

Bush the younger laid out three goals:
1. Return the space shuttle to flight (after the 2003 Columbia disaster) and finish the International Space Station.
2. Develop a new crew exploration vehicle.
3. “Return to the moon by 2020, as the launching point for missions beyond.”

Barack Obama put the kibosh on work instigated by Bush, replacing it with a new policy that pushed the goal — both the physical one and the timing, way out there: “We’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history,” Obama said on April 15, 2010. “By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow.”

Again, nothing happened, and in fact the space shuttle stopped flying under Obama and NASA had to start bumming rides from the Russians to get to the aging space station.

Let’s now push our dreams for Space Exploration back in the calendar, because we need to have them launched forward from today onwards.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

But let’s hope that the President and Congress will come up with some solid funding for this project, because the Russians and the Chinese are eating our cheese out there.

Apparently, they have all figured out that this giant wheel of Swiss cheese that we call the Moon, is quite tasty, and the fondue made of it, can be rather rewarding…


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