To no one’s great surprise, on Monday President Obama canceled the Man on the Moon program started by his predecessor Present Bush the younger. It always looked like a forlorn hope. Common comments were that it was under funded and motivated by the wrong impulses. Some very uncharitable persons suggested it was more about getting some good vibes by appealing to public pride in past achievements to counter adverse vibes from other directions.
In its place President Obama has directed NASA to develop a more focused and creative cost effective interplanetary explorations strategy.
Some have said the decision is long over due and that the previous plan was sub optimal. It has for instance been recently suggested that a better plan would be to aim for the colonization of one of the moons of Mars as a first step in the extensive exploration of Mars which seems generally regarded as the next major step in man’s further exploration of the solar system.
On the seventh anniversary of the Columbia disaster, President Obama unveiled a sweeping change of course for the nation’s space program Monday, putting an end to NASA’s post-Columbia moon program and shifting development and operation of new rockets and capsules from the government to private industry.
Requesting some $19 billion for NASA in fiscal 2011, the administration announced plans to pump an additional $6 billion into NASA’s budget over the next five years to kick-start development of a new commercial manned spaceflight capability, including some $500 million in 2011.