“To the stars through hardship.”
That’s roughly what Ad Astra Per Aspera means. I think the effort is worth it, though. There’s been a lot of talk lately about President Bush’s new space plan. Basically, his plan has two branches. First, establish a moon base. Second, send a manned mission to Mars.
This Wired News article talks about the first step, building a permanent moon base. This, of course, has been the dream of many of us since the very early days of space travel. I know that I’ve been waiting for it since I was a little kid. I even remember getting a book from a school book fair that had cardboard cut-out toys that which was all about a moon base. But, something happened. We lost our way and this dream got shelved. Now, President Bush has revived it. Let’s hope it stays alive.
The second part of the space plan is to send a manned mission to Mars. Again, a dream of many of us for many years. I started to think about this after I started listening to the environmentalists yapping about the state of the Earth’s ecology. In fact, I’ve said for years that if it’s so bad, we need to invest in getting off the planet! Now, it seems, we may.
Of course, there’s a lot of talk about how much this will all cost. Honestly, I’m not sure why it matters. It sure didn’t matter when we went to the moon. All that mattered was that we got there and beat everyone else. I’d say the same thing applies here, too. Now we have to compete with the Chinese and the Indians, who both have viable space programs. Sure, the front-runners are the Chinese who have only recently put an astronaut in space, but still, they’re gaining. We need to beat them to the Red Planet. I mean, c’mon. “The Red Planet”? How can we pass up the chance to make headlines about beating the Red Chinese to the Red Planet?
Seriously, maybe some good, old-fashioned competition can restore our country to the greatness we once enjoyed. I sure hope so. And, I’d love to get a call from a grandkid on Mars.