In MISSING THE MARK By Marcia S. Smith July 23, 2009 Ms. Smith wrote “Alternatively, if President Obama does not care enough about the space program to adequately fund   it, let’s find that out now.”  In Washington there is only one measure  of caring that really matters: funding.  Furthermore, while speculating about future funding is fun, it’s rarely accurate.  What we do know is that in his first six months in office Obama has asked for, and received, billions in additional NASA funding.  He cares.

While many in the space movement equate NASA with the human space program and exploration, during the campaign Obama made it clear that  he wants additional funding for Earth observation, aeronautics and  other parts of NASA that directly benefit the American people. Not  surprisingly, that’s where a lot of the additional funding has gone.

A final point, the reason the human space flight program is in trouble is that is has the wrong goal:  exploration.  If you want knowledge about space, robots are cheaper and, for most things, better.  We have 40 years of data on this.  It’s a fact.  Human exploration, as presently pursued, boils down to flags and footprints — which are not worth the money.  There is only one really important goal for humans in space: settlement.   It may be the only worthy goal, but it is of such vast, literally cosmic, importance that no other goal is needed. We are talking about the survival of not just civilization, not just humanity, but of life itself.   Someday, some way, this planet will become inhabitable.  It will probably be a long time, but right now we know how to settle the solar system.  It will difficult, it will be expensive, but we know how to do it (see
for one approach).  Carpe diem!


Picture of admin


Contributors to the NSS Blog are unpaid volunteers. Unless specifically labeled an NSS position or press release, all blog posts represent the views of the author and not of NSS, even if written by an NSS officer.

Leave a Comment

future 1

Don't Miss a Beat!

Be the first to know when new articles are posted!

Follow Us On Social Media


Give The Gift Of Space: Membership For Friends and Family

Book Review


ISDC 2025:
Together Beyond!

In Orlando at the Rosen Centre Hotel.
June 19 - 22, 2025


Image of Kalpana One space settlement courtesy Bryan Versteeg, $32,000 in Cash Awards Given for Best Space-Related Business Plans — Deadline March 1, 2024

Category: Nonfiction Reviewed by: John J. Vester Title: Nuclear Rockets: To the Moon and Mars Author: Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried Format: Paperback/Kindle Pages: 270 Publisher:

Partially Successful Flight Reached Space and Demonstrated New “Hot Staging” System The National Space Society congratulates SpaceX on the second test of its Starship/Super Heavy

Ad Astra, the NSS quarterly print, digital, and audio magazine, has won a 2023 MARCOM Gold Award. The awards are given yearly for “Excellence in

By Jennifer Muntz, NSS Member Coordinator On October 10th, an inspiring breakfast event took flight at the Center for Space Education at the Kennedy Space

By Grant Henriksen NSS Policy Committee Benefit sharing is a concept that refers to the distribution of benefits derived from the exploration and use of

People residing and working in space, space settlements, or on long-duration space flights will need to produce infrastructures and food to maintain healthy lifestyles. The

Image: Artist’s concept of the Blue Moon lander. Credit: Blue Origin. Second Human Landing System Contract Encourages Competition and Innovation The National Space Society congratulates