(Hat Tip: Tales of the Heliosphere and AstroEngine, Image Credit: ExDream.com)
Rumor has it that President Elect Barack Obama's transition team is seriously considering "tearing down the walls" that prevents the Pentagon from working with NASA.
(Bloomberg) President-elect Barack Obama will probably tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.'s civilian and military space programs to speed up a mission to the moon amid the prospect of a new space race with China.According to Bloomberg, the Pentagon's space budget is approximately $22 billion (which is 33% larger than NASA's budget). By allowing both agencies to collaborate together, NASA would be able to easily retire the shuttle as well as prepare for an eventual moon landing.
Obama's transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration because military rockets may be cheaper and ready sooner than the space agency's planned launch vehicle, which isn't slated to fly until 2015, according to people who've discussed the idea with the Obama team. [...]
"If China puts a man on the moon, that in itself isn't necessarily a threat to the U.S.," said Dean Cheng, a senior Asia analyst with CNA Corp., an Alexandria, Virginia-based national-security research firm. "But it would suggest that China had reached a level of proficiency in space comparable to that of the United States."
This could also benefit the Pentagon as it could help encourage citizens to join a "future space force" (which would make the Pentagon very happy).
Unfortunately a marriage between civilian and military would have its draw backs as well, since an alliance between the two could alienate NASA from future space allies like India and Japan who may not be open towards partnering with foreign military agencies.
It could also change NASA's focus from scientific exploration of the universe to a more "divide and conquer" approach (which in the long run could help the US to eventually conquer the solar system).
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