April 15th, 2006


Answers #4

This is a response from my open questions post.

What do you think about the prospct that China wants to get to Mars first?

I think it's great. Space exploration is a good thing in principle (for scientific discovery, economic side effects, and bolstering the collective human spirit). The fact that China is making such bold strides also has the possibility of propeling our own semi-stalled space program forwards.

There's been a lot of talk about expanding the U.S. space effort (i.e. Dubya's space initiative a few years ago) but very little action (this year's federal budget CUT funding for space ventures). The threat of real competition, where another nation would publicly surpass us, is a powerful motivator. Americans, as a populace, are self-important and proud.* We don't want to see someone else do something better than we can!

I think that this may ultimately help to secure the funding necessary for us to build a next-generation space vehicle in order to prove that we still play a viable role in human spaceflight. And, most importantly, kudos to China for dedicating themselves to extending our species beyond this planet; I wish them well.

* Not you, though. I meant other people. You know, just generally.