In the first Bush era it was thought that by 2010 man would once again be on the moon but this time with and outpost, and enduring the journey to Mars. But with the change in leadership, plans don't always stay the same. STEM fields were also priorities in the education of the youth. And then we get a new President, and stuff changes.
The year is 2013 and mankind has almost nothing to show for our space exploration of the 60's and 70's. we have one space station in orbit. The United States no longer has the scientific or technological advantage in the world. We no longer lead the world in breakthroughs. Maybe this is because of change in leadership, but one thing is for sure, the US needs to do something to stay in the game.
NASA gets less than 1¢ for every tax dollar. And there has even been talk of cutting the program all together. As of right now there are only two space faring civilizations, that can send a man into orbit, just like there always has been. This list no longer contain the United States, but Russia and China. Currently the US can not get into orbit by it's own means. Astronauts from the US have been told to head to Russia if they need a ride.
But what is this all for? We are not developing a great technology or striving for a great goal. Politicians have put NASA on hold because it does not directly correlate to their agenda. Four billion dollars is all NASA asked for to develope it's new systems. They would have earned this in four years. The government told them, "This is too much money, forget about it." They basicly grounded NASA tests until they could pull enough funds.
With each new President we have, each talks about in their State of the Union addresse about NASA and it's funding and reaching the stars. But then they do nothing to help accomplish this goal. And they keep changing the mission plan. So we go one step forward and 10 steps backwards. What are we really accomplishing by doing this? Maybe they see it as a publicity stunt to gain NASA supporters, support.
What we really need is a locked mission goal. One that cannot be changed. The goal would push us to the Moon and to Mars. Along with our mission statement, we'd need funding that is undisrupted by new budgets and government shutdowns. Even 4¢ on the dollar is enough.
Every young boy in the 60's and 70's wanted to be an astronaut when they grew up. If children today saw NASA was actually doing something, we would be inspiring the next generation. Interest would once again be sparked in our society.