I've done it. I'm a Facebook dweeb. I post there regularly. I reply to other people's posts. And I now have more friends on Facebook than I've ever had in real life; a definite sign of loserhood, if you ask me. But anyway, I posted a decent response to one of my "friends" complaining about something they read in a Charles Krauthammer column criticizing Obama's decision to cancel Bush's stupid moon mission. I thought I'd share it with you. Enjoy!
Our space program has always been a joke; akin to early sailors who never left the coastline and imagined themselves to be great merely for getting past the big waves. Sure, getting to the moon was a huge achievement, but it was stupidly ahead of it's time. Purposelessly so.
So we sent some dudes there to look at rocks. And? That was a pointless PR endevour. Cool? Yes. Lasting achievement? No. The truth is that from a technological perspective, we're many decades away from doing anything real with the moon and anyone who tells you differently is selling something. And the moon isn't real space travel. I want Star Trek, guys. I want REAL space exploration. And sending a few dudes to the moon at huge cost and risk is just stupid. We only went there because we hated the commies and we stopped going because the commies realized what a stupid, pointless achievement it was.
None of this is to suggest that I don't like space travel. I LOVE it. Hell, I'd give your left nut to go into orbit and I'd give both of them to get to Mars. But until we make some real technological breakthroughs, we're just dumb sailors who can't build ships good enough to cross a small lake. And while those breakthroughs would happen a lot sooner if we really pushed for it, we've got more pressing needs. I said that when Bush announced his pie-in-the-sky moon plan which he wouldn't fund properly and I say it now. We're just not ready for real space travel and going to the moon serves no other purpose than to do something cool.
Beyond that, Charles Krauthammer is a brainless hack and you should be ashamed for ever linking to him. Surely you could have found someone whose intent wasn't to unfairly smear Obama. Bush's moon program was over-budget, wasn't scheduled to work for many years, and might never have been feasible. Obama isn't to blame for our lack of space travel and his shift from lofty PR missions to more realistic space goals has been praised by many. Krauthammer will have you believe that Obama somehow cancelled active space travel (he didn't); while failing to mention that Obama increased NASA's budget. What a hack.
For a more informed view of where things stand on space travel, I recommend Bad Astronomy: