Space exploration volunteers wanted (The catch? It’s a one-way ticket)
The next generation of astronauts may hurtle through the cosmos for years or decades on a mission to explore distant planets and stars â€“ and never return.
A senior Nasa official has told the Guardian that the world’s space agencies, or the commercial firms that may eventually succeed them, could issue one-way tickets to space, with the travellers accepting that they would not come back.
Jeff Foust of SpacePolitics.com has a couple of reports on comments made by President Bush’s Science Adviser, John Marburger, during the Goddard Memorial Symposium concerning America’s future in space and whether there is a new “space race” with China.
Marburger emphasized that the nation’s goal is essentially to incorporate the Solar System into our economic sphere, Foust reports. The presidential adviser also took issue with several statements made by the Stanford Group, which gathered recently in Palo Alto to suggest alternative paths the United States could take. Marburger said the group put too much emphasis on exploration and not enough on economic benefits.
â€œExploration by a few is not the grandest achievement,â€ Marburger said. â€œOccupation by many is grander.â€
Foust also reports that the science adviser downplayed any rivalry with China. â€œI think it would be a serious mistake to construe the relative activities of China and the US as the beginning of a new space race,â€ Marburger said. â€œIt would lose the opportunity for synergistic effortsâ€ between China and the United States.
You can read Marburger’s prepared remarks here. Jonathan Goff also has thoughts about his remarks at Selenian Boondocks.
Science fiction writer Ben Bova has a commentary in the Naples Daily News in which he calls for an overhaul of existing space law in order to encourage private ownership of extraterrestrial resources. He blames outdated laws for blocking space settlement, including that 1967 Outer Space Treaty.