Concentrate on U.S. not Mars

During last week’s celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the first moon landing, President Bush attempted to make the most of the event by announcing his proposal for new space missions—including a trip to Mars.

Although Bush’s proposal was touted as “a boost for NASA,” the basis for the space mission is weak. The new space trips are largely designed to raise morale and restore momentum that the United States has lacked since the 1969 lunar landing.

This country’s space program suffers from significant shortages of money and manpower. The resources to support Bush’s plans to expand our space stations and establish a permanent base on the moon by the year 2010 are scarce.

And once U.S. astronauts make it to the moon again, the research done there will be used to plan the trip to Mars. While space exploration is very informative, it is also very expensive.

Bush said he wants to be sure that his proposed space initiatives pass “any test of fiscal sanity, fiscal reasonableness.” Considering the billions of dollars that would be invested in these space missions, Bush’s proposal will surely flunk the fiscal test.

What would be the advantage of going to Mars when we have so many problems on our own planet? Between the environment, the fluctuating economy, establishing peaceful relations with other countries and many other national and international concerns, the conquest of Mars should not be placed in such a high position on the American agenda.

President Bush and his advisers should concentrate on the concerns of the American people and attempt to improve the living conditions of this planet before they send us rocketing off to explore a new one.