With a major Presidental candidate expressing disinterest in returning humans to the Moon, and Congress against sending Americans to Mars, NASA may be attempting to spark interest in human space exploration by promoting America's Asian rival.
(Orlando Sentinel) Aides acknowledge that Griffin -- like the rest of the space community -- is hoping for some kind of a "Sputnik moment," an event capable of driving public demand for space exploration as the Soviet Union's launch of the first satellite did 50 years ago. And recently, he has been warning that America is already falling behind China's aggressive space program. [...]
But there is considerable question whether Griffin's invocation of China -- or even his assertion that space exploration is important to U.S. national security -- will move a Congress or a public that each year seems less enthusiastic about the space program and increasingly focused on the price of war and terrorism.
While NASA's attempt at provoking a space race may gain the attention of Congress, it will receive little support with the public. The space agency is in a different era than Apollo, and unless they outsource jobs to China, making nationalistic statements will have little effect upon the IPOD generation.
NASA's only hope may lie in the private sector, who may be able to help the space agency reach the moon at a fraction of the cost.
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