Planetary Society Space Priorities Survey: Message to the next U.S. President – My Response

I recently received a survey from the Planetary Society.

Planetary Society Space Priorities Survey:
Message to the next U.S. President

Help Keep Space Exploration Alive. We need every member’s voice and financial support right now to influence the next US president to lead Earth in exploring new worlds and understanding our own.

What should the driving goal of future space exploration be?

  1. Building a permanent, human-occupied base on the Moon.
  2. Sending human expeditions to Mars.
  3. Using only robots to explore our solar system.

I believe that at this time and for the near future the most effective way of exploring space is with the use of robots. Compared to a manned mission they can carry out investigations and send information back to Earth at a fraction of the cost and risk of sending out a manned mission to do the job. In the long run I would support sending humans to Mars and further after the establishment of a launch pad in the way of a base on the moon and with it the experience and technology of doing such a thing would bring.

If you could advise the next president about the U.S. space program, what would you say?

  1. Build the shuttle replacement, but do not commit to future human exploration beyond the Space Station.
  2. Seek international cooperation for lunar landings and Mars exploration.
  3. Build a U.S. lunar base as a stepping-stone to Mars.

For the near future I would suggest that we fully utalize the I.S.S. and get a reliable replacement for the space shuttle into play. I believe that international co-operation is the key for any future viable lunar activity and that any base set up should be international in nature, like the space station.

3. Scientists have warned that the world will soon lose its space-based ability to monitor climate. Should NASA step up its Earth Observing Program to meet this challenge?

  1. Yes. Global warming and other Earth issues are paramount. Government space programs must find ways to fund this research.
  2. No. Limited space funds are better spent exploring
  3. Beyond Earth.

I think that one of the key benefits of our space faring ability is to see the Earth from above the atmosphere and to be able to take a wider perspective of things, literally. What is the point of exploring space if we don’t look back and take a look at home? An international approach is would be beneficial in order to finance and support research on Earth issues from space.

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