Monday, February 16, 2009

Space as Vietnam

The other day I figured out what the problem is with manned space programs. The problem is that no president want to be seen to kill the program because he'd be the first president since Eisenhower not to have a manned space program. It is the same problem as with Vietnam for Nixon. Even though he promised an end to the war he did not want to be the first American president to not fight a war to at least a draw. It is all about saving face.

Even though manned space shots are a waste of money that return next to zero in useful science we're going to keep doing them because of pride. The same reason that the Russians kept doing them even though they were minutes away from being bankrupt in the 1990s.

And so we'll keep wasting those billions for pride. It isn't that large relatively, but since I think we Americans are going to have to make serious and painful cuts somewhere else soon due to the debts run up by both the private and public sector it is galling. But then again it does have the value of letting at least a few people pretend that we're still a superpower.

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