Wednesday, February 03, 2010
After the initial shock, more and more seem to be warming up to the White House's plans for NASA, especially the extra investment into the private sector. Let's also remember that it does include a funding increase of $1 billion per year, so claims that NASA is being "cut" are unfounded. As a Moon-first advocate I'm cautiously optimistic, since Constellation originally planned for a return to the Moon by 2020 but I also see the Moon as being just easy enough for private companies to be able to aid with, so if this new program spurs development in areas that will turn out to be beneficial for Moon exploration then I'll be happy with it. In the meantime, other countries are also focusing on the Moon so it's not the early 1990s anymore when the US was pretty much the only game in town.
Buzz Aldrin has released a statement expressing his strong support.
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation also welcomes the new program.
Space.com also has an article here going over some of the plans that would happen under this new program.
Of course, I also feel optimistic since this will likely be the year that we discover our first Earth-like planets in other solar systems (Kepler as well as other space- and earth-based telescopes) and if we're lucky (or more accurately, if our assumptions prove to be true) then WISE should turn up one or more brown dwarfs in close proximity to us, closer even than Alpha Centauri. Whatever happens budgetwise, 2010 will be a monumental year.