McClaughry: Moon landings? Mars?

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NASA’s inspector general expects the overall Artemis program to reach $93 billion by the time the first astronauts return to the surface of the moon, targeted for 2025.

By John McClaughry

From 1969 to 1972 the United States completed six crewed missions to the moon that landed 12 astronauts, not counting Apollo 13, that NASA dramatically rescued in one of the great engineering performances of all time.

Now proceeding toward liftoff is the Artemis program. NASA tells us Artemis is important because it will “land the first woman and first person of color on the moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. We will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the moon, and also lay the groundwork for sending astronauts to Mars.”

Each successful launch will cost about $4.1 billion. NASA’s inspector general expects the overall Artemis program to reach $93 billion by the time the first astronauts return to the surface of the moon, targeted for 2025.

Does anybody other than NASA and its contractors really believe that this nation, $31 trillion in debt, will get $93 billion dollars of value by putting six more astronauts on the moon? And worse yet, how many more billions will be spent to attempt to send humans to Mars, an exceedingly risky proposition.

I hate to be shortsighted, but I would scrap all this foolish space traveling and devote a sizable chunk of those billions to accelerate Project Impact, to push off course asteroids even now speeding in our direction.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain
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12 thoughts on “McClaughry: Moon landings? Mars?

  1. On December 11, 2017, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, which officially called for NASA to begin work on a human exploration program that would return astronauts to the surface of the moon and lay the groundwork for a sustained presence (i.e. a lunar colony).

    • Yet another false dichotomy: Timing is everything, Mr. Freitag. I may have my eye on a larger house for my growing family. But if I purchase that house with a mortgage disproportionate to my income, not to mention a mortgage with the highest interest rates in the last 40 years, I risk a bankruptcy that threatens everything I’ve achieved until now.

      Of course, I also suspect that your comment isn’t intended to justify this untimely investment, but rather to make another lame attempt to disparage your persistent nemesis, President Trump, by implying that he too would make this investment at this time without considering the underlying financial obligations. In 2017, after all, Trump’s economy was vibrant. Wages, relative to inflation were rising. The world was at relative peace. The southern border secure. We were energy independent.

      In the short time Joe Biden has been President, all has changed. Now is not the time to make this investment.

      • But, but first woman and first person of color on the moon.
        Don’t tell me that isn’t worth $93 billion. /sarc

      • The manned moon mission was one of the major initiatives of the Trump adminsitration. It was a flawed use of borrowed billions then and it is now. The best place to stop irresponsible spending is before a program gets started. Too bad voices were not raised in protest when this was first proposed. It is important for conservatives to be consistent in their fiscal policies and demand proper stewardship of our tax dollars irregardless of who is in office.

  2. Considering the US spends in the neighborhood of $800 Billion every year on military defense spending, I don’t see a problem with spending a small fraction of that amount toward a Moon base. It’s well known that whoever holds the high ground has the advantage.

    As others have said, there is also a strong possibility that the effort will produce new scientific and technological breakthroughs, as it has in the past.

    Whether or not each mission should cost $4 Billion is another matter. We should definitely have fiscal oversight and a good accounting of where the money is going.

  3. Does anybody other than NASA and its contractors really believe that this nation, $31 trillion in debt, will get $93 billion dollars of value by putting six more astronauts on the moon?

    I do. As long as they send the people who think the expense is worthwhile at this time and they stay there. 🙂

  4. The space program has yielded hundreds of scientific advances that eventually found themselves in the civilian consumer world. We don’t know what we don’t know so the space program should be supported, with close fiscal oversight.

  5. The writer would certainly like to see this article here.
    (I can only imagine how he’d have written this article had he saw this first!)

    Not only what he’s saying is right, BUT NASA has gone Woke and now, as a result of that, there is a shortage of astronauts.

    As usual, this is most likely less about ‘exploring Mars’ and more about a good excuse/marketing plan to raise funds to blow on the promotion of Woke Policy- which is being rejected- as the lack of astronauts shows.

    “NASA got Woke and it’s now running out of astronauts”
    https://granitegrok.com/blog/2022/10/nasa-got-woke-and-now-it-is-running-out-of-astronauts

  6. Word is that NASA’s money was actually spent in Antarctica. Operation Paperclip – Operation High Jump – Operation Deep Freeze. It is known a number of islands off the coast of Antarctica are owned by the elites (they love their island getaways!) The running joke is NASA stands for Not A Space Agency. There is much mystery and “conspiracy theories” concerning NASA, space exploration, and Antarctica being all connected. Stanley Kubrick and the moon landing. Now is the time when Truth is being revealed about many things our government has done and is involved in. All of which was never for the benefit of the people, of course. When certain agencies, certain places, and certain stories start to surface, it marks a revealing of Truth is near and “they” scramble to discredit and spin immediately.

  7. The only way it would be worth it is if we colonize the moon and move all the America haters there…which would encompass liberals, progrssives, commie Dcrats. Other wise it’s just as much a waste of money as leaving 80 billion of Military equipment in Afghanistan.

  8. you mean by nasa black budget war … no we have had enough
    stop pretending we landed on the moon
    every major achievement we have ever done we improved upon accept going to the moon
    crossing the atlantic by boat by plane ..but not the moon we lost that technology they said

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