Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from David Appell

To the Moon

NASA is out with its plans to go to the Moon, and let’s just say they’re less than overwhelming. As the American Physical Society’s Bob Parks put it last Friday, In 1961 John Kennedy promised the Moon “before this decade…

  • September 19, 2005

NASA is out with its plans to go to the Moon, and let’s just say they’re less than overwhelming. As the American Physical Society’s Bob Parks put it last Friday,

In 1961 John Kennedy promised the Moon “before this decade is out.” From a standing start, America was on the moon in seven years. Now, after 44 years of “space progress,” it’s gonna take twice as long? What are we looking for? NASA says they’ll find water, hydrogen and “valuable commodities.” On the Moon? Go on! Maybe someone takes that seriously, but he’s not writing this column. We’ve got robots on Mars right now. Put a few of them on the moon. They don’t break for lunch, or complain about the cold nights, and they live on sunshine. Space exploration with humans is about over.

NASA is calling this mission “Apollo on Steroids” (perhaps not the most judicious of terms), and it will certainly have some advantages over the Apollo missions: The capsule’s base would be considerably larger than Apollo’s – 18 feet compared with 12.8 feet–and it would weigh about 50 percent more. It would be able to carry six people, instead of Apollo’s three, and be able to stay in lunar orbit for six months. That’s the good news.

But post-Katrina, post-Iraq, post-tax-cuts-for-the-rich, the U.S. budget deficit is now projected to hit (last I heard) $834 billion by the year 2015….What do you want to bet that no one will be going to the Moon? That, unfortunately, seems the most likely outcome.

AI is here. Will you lead or follow?
Join us at EmTech Digital 2019.

Register now
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.