Thursday, July 21, 2011

There Was No Value in Our Shuttle Program

Now that space shuttle Atlantis has landed, I am glad that we are done with messing around in space.  It had no value to the United States in terms of defense, as getting a defense system into space does not require actual men up in space, and it had little scientific value since there were no plans to let regular civilians into space.

While I understand the nostalgia coming from many people who grew up during the space race, by and large subsequent generations, of which I am one, see little value in NASA or any kind of government-funded space program.  There is nothing of value on the moon and between the Earth and the moon, even less.

Our whole space program was started with the idea of beating out the Soviets in the space race.  Many wasteful government programs came out of the early Cold War era and NASA is no exception.  The Soviet Union collapsed over 20 years ago, although its decline probably started 30 years ago.

To put it bluntly, NASA has been a waste of time and money for the average American citizen and shutting them down is something I will not shed a tear over.  Why do we need the government to send people and animals into space anyway?  What purpose does the international space station serve?  Other than the wow factor, I see little benefit to mankind for anything like it.

Now, I know I have been emphasizing the value of a government-funded space program, but let me ask you this: if NASA provides little value in any function of government, should we not then defund them and disband them?  In these hard economic times where the government needs to shrink, would it not be more prudent to cast aside the things which have been nothing more than a waste of money in general?

Now, I know there are war hawks out there who believe that NASA serves a military purpose.  But I ask you, what weapons has NASA ever taken with it in one those space shuttles?  Have they ever carried nuclear missiles up to space in order to place them in a satellite so we can remotely bomb any target at any time?  From my perspective, it seems we can do that just fine without the need to go into space.

Personally, I am wondering if all this moaning and groaning about the loss of our space shuttle program has more to do with the end of an era rather than any real need.  I have yet to hear any pundit point the benefits in keeping our space shuttle plan active.  Instead, they just point out that the Russians now control space, which is a laughable argument.  After all, there are maybe a dozen people up in space, perhaps a little more up there.  What could they possibly do with that many people?

The space program represents a huge amount of taxpayer dollars wasted all to show up a bunch of communists halfway around the world.  While I do acknowledge that many interesting technologies came out of that program, keep in mind that such things could have easily been created in the private sector since there was a need for them.

In short, I am glad that the Space Shuttle program has finally been ended.  It is high time we ended this Cold War mentality that is currently ruling over this country and I believe this is the first step toward that.  There still is a long way to go, though, unfortunately.