Ad Luna?

The National Review reported yesterday that the President is expected to offer a vision of an America returning to space. This is supposed to happen somewhere around the 100th anniversary of manned flight, although it could be politicized into the State of the Union address in January.

Very cool — I’m somewhat surprised to hear that Dubya is pondering a return to Luna, though. That just seems awfully forward-thinking, and that’s a trait I don’t give him much credit for.

As with the Soviets in the late 50s, it appears all we need is a race partner — in this case the Chinese — to challenge our dominance in space, and then we begin looking upward again. It’s a shame that it takes that kind of nudging to get us looking forward again.

However with the death of the Concorde fleet, the grounding — and maybe mothballing — of the shuttle fleet, and continuing cuts in any program in the US that puts a human above 100,000 feet, I continue to feel like the future is dying before our very eyes.

Aside from the philosphical waxing that goes with this sort of thing, there were two bits of trivia of the article, though, that were intriguing.

The first was that all US astronauts deaths have happened in the same calendar week (from Jan 27 to Feb 1). This leads me to thinking a moratorium on US space launches from about Jan 20 to Feb 10 might be in order…..

The second was that anyone 31 years of age or less has never known a manned lunar landing — they’ve all been born since Apollo 17 left the lunar surface.

Ad astra? Not likely in my lifetime.

Ad luna? It’s happened before, and I’d like to see it again in my lifetime.