OK, so the President is trying hard to make me like him.
Today, he announced a bold return to space for the US, albeit at the expense of the shuttle fleet before 2010. Manned missions to Luna by 2015, and Mars around 2030. However, he only increased NASA’s budget by $1bn (taking it to about $85bn, if I remember what I heard correctly). As has been widely reported, the Apollo decade cost about $100bn (in 2004 dollars).
So where’s the money coming from? Or, more importantly, who in Congress is gonna actually vote for this?
Well, you could pull $80bn+ from Iraq (or at least make Iraq pay for the “police” effort out of its oil profits, which is what I thought was supposed to happen anyway), and that might get you much of the way to Luna. The challenge though, is that Bush is talking new craft, new methods and lingering on Luna, and that ain’t gonna be $100bn, I suspect.
How about start with the unemployment/welfare rolls? How about as a condition of taking an check for unemployment or welfare, you had to work on The Program? As we learned in WWII, many people can learn skills that will not only help us out, but also help them out.
Of course, there’s the issues of wage, but you’re paying those folks already, and getting little in return. There’s also issues of paying for child care during the working day, but I think that’s achievable with government sponsored, near-site childcare.
Not all Americans who draw a federal check are close to where the big work would be done, of course, but I’m sure that not everyone working on Apollo was in Florida, either.
On the whole, good news…. assuming we as Americans are willing to belly up to the bar. That will be the interesting thing to watch.