This blog is explicitly not about politics, but one of the things it is about is spaceflight — because spaceflight is cool, and this website is about cool stuff. For better or worse, the biggest factor in real space development in 2017 is national space programs, and that means politics. So there’s this:
The Trump administration is considering a bold and controversial vision for the U.S. space program that calls for a “rapid and affordable” return to the moon by 2020, the construction of privately operated space stations and the redirection of NASA’s mission to “the large-scale economic development of space,” according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.
In the space policy geek world, there have been a few long-term conflicts (that sometimes get ugly): “Humans vs. Robots,” “Old Space vs. New Space” and, one of the issues that gets tempers flaring the most, “Moon vs. Mars.” Mars is great, and I want people to go there — as many as possible and as soon as it makes sense. But I’m a “Luna First” guy and have been ever since the “Moon vs. Mars” issue has been around (at least since the 1970s, and in a big way since the late 1980s). I’ll write more (probably a lot more) about this over time here, but for now, I hope this is a real thing.
FWIW, there’s no way any humans are going to be landing on the Moon by 2020. With concentrated effort, the U.S. could do a “free return” manned flight around the Moon by then. That would be cool — and a good first step to permanent return to the first place off this rock people should be living on.