Friday, April 16, 2010

The President's New Space Policy

The President revealed his new space initiatives yesterday. Among the promising developments are the development of a new heavy lift vehicle. Such a vehicle will be useful to lift private space colony modules - however it won't be available for the private sector unless the government eats the development costs. Therefore, this is a good thing for spacers.

The President also decided to pursue Mars but not the Moon. This might be a bit of a mistake, since colonizing the Moon will provide useful experience for colonizing Mars, as well as a training ground for future colonists. If I were going as far as Mars on what is almost a one-way trip, I would want that kind of experience. Once you leave the Terra-Luna system, you aren't coming back soon.

On the plus side, leaving the government off the Moon means the private sector can exploit it more easily. The Moon is an excellent place for science, tourism and a probable source for Helium-3 for fusion power. I am a bit shocked that no one has briefed Obama about Helium-3 yet. He may have decided differently after such a brief. The Moon is also a great place to dump high level nuclear waste. Putting it in perpetual orbit is just plain rude and leaving it on Earth is hazardous. On th barren wasteland that is Luna, it won't be bothering anyone. Indeed, it may not even be noticed. All we need to utilize it is reliable lift.