by Rod D. Martin
December 7, 2013
As several Apollo astronauts pointed out in 2010, Obama’s NASA is lost in space. This week brought several more compelling proofs of their point.
First, China announced its plans to turn the Moon into a “Death Star.” (Link to Taiwan media here.) Which only stands to reason: as every viewer of The Right Stuff knows, Lyndon Johnson’s grave concern regarding Sputnik was that the Russians would be able to turn the high ground of space into an insuperable military advantage. They didn’t, but that doesn’t mean the Chinese haven’t read Robert Heinlein.
Second, the Chinese aren’t just going there to blow us up or hold us hostage: they understand there’s a new gold rush afoot. So does Moon Express, which this week announced its plans to conduct America’s first controlled Moon landing in 40 years. Why would it be so stupid as to “shoot money into space” (as generations of liberal politicians have termed it)? After all, there’s nothing there but a bunch of stupid moon rocks, right?
Wrong: the moon rocks Apollo brought back showed that the Moon has enough titanium, platinum and “rare earth” minerals to make Midas blush. Moon Express is prospecting. The Chinese are too. Other U.S.-based companies are too, backed by the usual suspect internet billionaires. The race is on, in no small part because guys like Elon Musk are collapsing the price of reaching space.
Opening up the frontier of space will completely change everything on Earth in our lifetime. But it won’t be because of NASA if Barack Obama has anything to say about it. While others — including hostile nations — understand that access to the resources of the Moon and nearby asteroids could usher in an age of plenty while leading to a vastly cleaner environment here at home, the President’s strategy is for NASA to promote Islamic self-esteem. Virtually everything of importance that NASA was doing when Obama was elected, he very quickly cancelled. As with all other aspects of American power, Obama has worked desperately to dismantle a hard-won 50-year lead.
(To be fair, Mitt Romney would not have been much better, having turned Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that there might be enough humans in space to apply for statehood — a century from now — into a punchline. Pathetic.)
China was the world’s greatest sea power at the outset of the century in which Columbus “sailed the ocean blue.” Spain used Italian sea captains for a reason: Venice and Genoa were the dominant European maritime states of their day. All of these passed on the Age of Exploration. All were eclipsed by pipsqueak powers who rose to greatness precisely because they did not.
It’s a time for choosing. We will live with the consequences of that choice for the rest of human history.
UPDATE: No sooner did I post the foregoing than Drudge posted this: Experts Warn NASA Making Mistake Ignoring Moon.