Clark Lindsey over at Hobby Space points to an interesting interview with space lawyer Jim Dunstan. The expert in space policy and law has some choice things to say about current efforts to get astronauts beyond LEO and the role of private industry, author Robert Bauman writes:
The Space Review has three essays this week looking at whether past is prologue as humanity slowly and clumsily moves out into the cosmos. The essays invoke Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin and Daniel Boone.
One-Way Ticket to Mars
James C. McLean III
If we can eliminate the requirement to launch that person off of Mars to bring them back, we remove a major obstacle to mission practicality. Carrying enough rocket fuel to the surface of Mars to permit a launch back into space for a return to Earth, or else somehow manufacturing fuel on Mars for this launch is a technical problem with no solution likely in the next twenty or thirty years.
Economic Stimulus Solutions Include Tax-Deductible Down Payments, Flex-Fuel Laws and Trips to Mars
by Robert Zubrin
To expand our future, initiate a program to send humans to Mars within eight years. President John F. Kennedyâ€™s Apollo program not only boosted the U.S. economy of the 1960s to terrific rates of economic growth, it mobilized the nationâ€™s sharpest minds to create dozens of new technologies.
Worried that humanity could destroy itself and the Earth with it, famed physicist Stephen Hawking on Monday advocated a massive global spending effort to establish off-world colonies as an insurance policy against a global holocaust, New Scientist reports.
Speaking in Washington, DC, in honor of NASA’s 50th anniversary, Hawking advocated spending about 10 times more than NASA’s current $17 billion budget on the initiative. This expenditure would amount to about 0.25 percent of global GDP.
“Even if we were to increase the international [space exploration] budget 20 times to make a serious effort to go into space, it would only be a small fraction of world GDP,” Hawking told the crowd. “Isn’t our future worth a quarter of a percent?”
Hawking advocated speeding up NASA’s plans to establish a settlement on the moon and send humans off to the Red Planet. “A goal of a base on the Moon by 2020 and of a manned landing on Mars by 2025 would reignite the space program and give it a sense of purpose in the same way that President Kennedy’s Moon target did in the 1960s,” he said.
As much as I admire Hawking, I wonder about the effectiveness of his approach. It would pretty much involve overturning the way politics are practiced.