September 11th, 2009 16:25 EST
Moon vs. Mars vs. Money
There are astronauts with their heads well past the clouds of earth -- now their heads are in Martian clouds. [How quickly they forget about helium-3.] They want us to forget about any practical uses to a moon colony and just launch a rocket to Mars. Others don`t want us spending any money outside the US. [An astonishing number of congressional NASA bashers are the same weirdos who pushed for funding of an artist who dipped a crucifix in urine. Other NASA bashers supported the Bridge to Nowhere.]
Back to moon-and-Mars talk, a few snippets:
Will America Really Return to the Moon?
By Dale Huffman
"Now we are planning the next generation of spaceflight, and there are arguments on the direction to follow there too ..." " ... further debate thrown in over how much we need to learn from colonization of the Moon, just a quarter million miles away, before we tackle year-long trips in weightless conditions on trips to Mars, which is never closer than 35 million miles away from the Earth ..."
As I wrote before, until we master our own orbit, Mars can wait. There are practical uses to the moon or a space elevator:
Mars Can Wait -- Conquer our Own Orbit First
Orbital solar collectors could provide us with clean energy and produce jobs that actually turn a profit. A trip to Mars? What does that produce?
If you want to fly to Mars, you need a moon station first. Why have a space ship resist the earth`s gravitational pull? That is ludicrous when you can harvest building materials directly from space rock. That same rock could also be building materials for orbital solar collectors [much more efficient that solar collectors under the earth`s atmosphere].
Here`s the real kicker -- there is a special new super fuel on the moon: helium-3. For the same weight as current rocket fuel, helium-3 packs a tremendous punch.
"Researchers and space enthusiasts see helium-3 as the perfect fuel source." By Julie Wakefield
"Scientists estimate there are about 1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon, enough to power the world for thousands of years. The equivalent of a single space shuttle load or roughly 25 tons could supply the entire United States` energy needs for a year, according to Apollo 17 astronaut and FTI researcher Harrison Schmitt." [snip]
China is already planning to colonize the moon and gain a helium-3 monopoly. With our weak economy, the moon`s future is less bright for the US. Most likely, we will lose the helium-3, and that is likely the ultimate key to Mars. Experts generally agree that you can`t get helium-3 anywhere on this planet.
On the other hand, with the current political climate, we are getting deeper in debt filling pot holes. We are losing momentum in the space race; that`s how it is. So who will be selling us helium-3? China, unless more people start using their brains.