Space: The Last Priority

by Jon Card on September 6, 2012

Last week some of the Republicans among us wrote a press release that slammed the Republican Platform on space.   This week the Democrats among us were hoping to have nice things to say about the Democratic platform.  No such luck.

At least the platform committee didn’t waste any words.  But when it comes to actual substance, they earned the same failing grade as the Republicans.

Quoting the only mention of space in the Democratic National Platform, “President Obama has charted a new mission for NASA to lead us to a future that builds on America’s legacy of innovation and exploration.”

That’s it.  No discussion about where real value in space can come from.  No discussion about how to democratize space for everyone, so that instead of just a few people flying every year, the US could have hundreds of people flying into space.  No discussion about how space development can create new industries and new jobs, such as space tourism, microgravity production, and access to space resources.  No discussion about space infrastructure that is available for everyone, even those outside of NASA, to use.

The real problem is that there are entrenched interests who want to ensure their districts or states maintain control over space.  Then there are those who are so emotionally attached to a mythical golden age as to be blind to the future.

We cannot afford to have leaders who see space as a program to protect existing workers, or who want to follow failed models because that is what they are comfortable with.  Space should be about creating millions of twenty-first century private sector jobs rather than preserving thousands of left over twentieth century taxpayer funded jobs for a few more years.  Democrat or Republican it hardly matters.  America’s politicians fail to see the amazing opportunities that a free and open frontier in space has to offer.

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