Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A little note on NASA

by Smitty (h/t Insty)

Insty links the Foresight Institute, emphasis mine:
With space travel, there’s a pretty straightforward answer: the Apollo project was a political stunt, albeit a grand and uplifting one; there was no compelling reason to go to the moon given the cost of doing so. The nature of political stunts is such that it does you no good to repeat one, even if you can do the same thing better or cheaper or whatever.

His next post quotes Megan McArdle:
What happened to the dream? Government mismanagement, yes, but something more than that, too, some failure of imagination and will.

Your attention is drawn to the Cold War. Anyone failing to grasp that the whole warheads-on-foreheads concern, and the need for supporting navigation/missile systems, was among the chief drivers for everything NASA was doing in the 60s and 70s is urged to take a more cynical read of the subtext of the Outer Space Treaty. Think Curtis LeMay, not Tom Swift.

My question is, If Sarah Palin makes funding NASA a national priority, funding exploration through a re-vitalized, de-centralized capitalist economy, will the loony Left
a) blame Bush for not having done all that sooner, or
b) blame Palin for marring the Martian ecosystem with human presence?


  1. will the loony Left
    a) blame Bush for not having done all that sooner, or
    b) blame Palin for marring the Martian ecosystem with human presence?

    Why not both? They are not mutually exclusive.

  2. 2

    But then Pres. Palin will tell them to piss off, and I will laugh along with her.

  3. For private development of space to occur, that treaty MUST go. It does not allow any country or individual to OWN any heavenly body wholly or in part. In other words, if you build a hotel on the moon, out of local materials, and create the air from locally mined oxides or water ice. you not only do not own the land it is sitting on, but you don't own the walls or the air either. Who in their right mind would spend all the money and energy to go to the moon and develop the resources necessary for human colonization when they can't even own the ground they stand on? I would argue that the UN Space Treaty violates the US constitution.

  4. @Rorshach,
    What's even more interesting is that the OST is the _only_ treaty (per my Space Law prof) that actually mentions individual citizens of countries.
    Specifically, the launching country is wholly responsible for _anything_ a private citizen does, in particular, have a launch failure from, say, Cape Canaveral go fubar and take out, say, Paris.
    The concept of private property to which you allude is certainly another biggie. Whether or not a treaty about space violates a terrestrial Constitution is another question. As long as we're putting priority on social programs, at the expense of useful exploration, the chance of testing your hypothesis remains remote.