Sorry America, We’re Not Going Back To The Moon
“America is home to some of the greatest scientists, engineers, astronauts, administrators, and organizations in the entire world. With the people and facilities we have today, we could put a human on the Moon or even on Mars within the next 10 years, if only we invest in it. But grandstanding, lofty promises, and a dearth of funding will yield the same results they always have: a nation whose greatest dreams go unfulfilled. What we can accomplish as a species is limited only by what’s physically possible and what we invest in it. Our ambitions to venture beyond low-Earth orbit are achievable, but only if we make it so. Unless there’s a plan to increase NASA’s funding to sufficient levels to send humans to worlds beyond our own, America is never going to get there.”
Last week, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, declaring America’s ambitions to return to the Moon with a crewed mission. This is in line with the vision laid out by the Trump administration earlier this year, but with no additional funding provided for the endeavor, it’s all but a certainty that this won’t happen. When we went to the Moon the first time, we were investing approximately 5% of federal expenditures in NASA; today, that figure has declined to just 0.4%, the lowest figure since 1959. We have the people, the technology, the facilities, and the will to take humanity not only to the Moon, but to Mars or even beyond. All it will take is full federal funding and an ambitious timetable. This vision offers neither, ensuring that it will never happen under the current plan.