I was really disappointed to learn President Obama cut funds for the Ares and Orion space vehicles and the Constellation program in the recent budget submitted to Congress. If passed this will kill NASA’s plans to send humans back to the moon by 2020. Selfish as it may be, nothing sparks my imagination better than topics like space, space travel, space colonization, etc, etc, etc. But my own personal interests aside, I always thought there were very practical reasons to take steps towards space colonization. For instance:
Continuity of the human race – If you take a long view it is a mathematical certainty the earth will eventually suffer a natural disaster which renders it unable to support life. When doomsday comes to pass it would be nice to know humans will have a chance to live on in space.
Economics – There’s gold in them there hills! Well, maybe not gold but there are likely to be materials we need out there. Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, has enough liquid methane on it’s surface to heat every-one’s homes for about 47 billion eons (Or something like that…There’s a lot of useful stuff out there but I am not qualified to provide accurate measurements).
The environment – Apparently the best way to save the earth from people is to move us out.
Solar Power – Harvested in space and beamed to the earth with Microwaves, this technology has the potential to supply 100% of our energy needs with no greenhouse gasses.
Drinking Water – Yup, its running out here on earth. I can almost taste a frosty liter of Ceres Springs now.
Exploration – It’s in our DNA.
In the short term, these programs were going to generate thousands of jobs and revenues for various parts of the country. Hopefully Congress will do something useful for a change and block passage of this aspect of Obama’s budget. With unemployment hovering around 10% I am not sure what the logic is behind cutting spending that creates jobs.