There doesn’t seem to be the money around anymore to seriously push the boundaries of space back. The world my generation was brought up in – of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars doesn’t seem any more closer than it was 30 years ago.
In all these films and series, mankind didn’t just hang around the same boring planet – we were all over the pace a serious multi-planetary species. But that doesn’t look like happening any time soon, certainly not in the next few decades – our space exploration efforts are not entering warp speed.
There have been little rays of hope from certain areas. President Obama suggested we cold put humans onto an asteroid by 2025, and possibly Mars by the 2030s – a little too long for me to get involved directly on the mission but at least I could enjoy it on TV.
Unfortunately the fine words don’t seem to have been accompanied by the finances to support them. I was watching a broadcast from a an American TV channel last week (using my US proxy service – here), it had an interview with Charles Bolden a NASA administrator. He echoed the concerns that the funding simply isn’t in place to reach either of those targets. The talks is more of budget cuts than the increases required to set a human on the face of Mars any time soon.
Without the impetus of a space race it looks unlikely that the situation will accelerate anytime soon. Experts estimate that it will cost upwards of hundreds of billions of dollars to set a man down on Mars – a budget that looks extremely unlikely. Of course now India and China are entering the world of space exploration perhaps that will encourage some of the world’s richest nations to look upwards again. I have to say the news of a Chinese mineral exploration probe landing on an asteroid or the moon would probably cause some sort of rethink in North American priorities.
Technical citation for video above.