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space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm) n. A way of approaching situations or solving problems that emphasizes practical applications and consequences.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Next Fifty Years

NASA Chief, Mike Griffin, has an article on what the next 50 years might hold for space travel. I am okay with most of what he says (not happy, but okay), but this truly scares me:

It is to be hoped and, I believe, expected that the next era of space exploration will be international in scope, in much the same fashion as the development of the International Space Station today. Whatever might be said of the ISS program – and there cannot be much that has been left unsaid – it has pioneered a path to the development of a major international space facility. There are lessons learned in so doing that we will take with us out into the Solar System. These lessons will be the most enduring, and ultimately most valuable, contribution the ISS can make. We will be applying them on Mars, fifty years from now. (emphasis mine)

Dear God. If the ISS is our model we are in trouble. I shutter to call the ISS a space facility, which implies it facilitates something. The ISS is the worst example of everything that is wrong with NASA.

If we use that model, the Lunar outpost Dr. Griffin speaks of, will be compromised to the point of uselessness. It will be a nightmare to change, and it will be impossible to ditch because we have "international commitments."

I admit, I am not a big fan of international cooperation in space. If we must, however, there has to be a better way than the ISS model.

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