Lost in space -- and on Earth, David Ignatius, Washington post
"The world of 2013 is different: We don't even attempt manned space programs anymore. They are too expensive, and what's the point? Thank goodness for the plucky little Voyager I probe, which has just left the solar system, 36 years after it was launched, carrying sounds of Earth, including a baby crying, a whale's song and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode."
Keith's note: Nothing is more annoying than uninformed and pontificating op eds by know-it-alls prominently displayed on the editorial pages of a large national newspaper such as the Washington Post. This quote by David Ignatius really makes that point: "The world of 2013 is different: We don't even attempt manned space programs anymore. They are too expensive, and what's the point?"
It would seem that Ignatius is unaware of the fact that the International Space Station, built and maintained mostly with American funds, is in orbit - with 2 Americans on board - and that there are plans to extend its lifetime well into next decade. Nor is Ignatius apparently aware of the multiple commercial firms, spurred on by heavy NASA Investments, who are looking to provide new and less expensive ways to put more Americans into orbit.
Ignatius is also clearly oblivious to America's Orion program that is building a human-rated spacecraft that will be test launched next year or the plans already being formulated for Americans to travel to - and capture an asteroid and bring it back to near-Earth space. Of course there's also Dennis Tito's plan to send a human crew to Mars and back and Virgin Galactic, XCOR, and Blue Origin who seek to send an exponentially larger number of people into space for a similarly cheaper cost. Ignatius is oddly silent about these efforts as well.
If anything, people - from both government and the private sector - are more interested in going into space than at any time in the past. Not only is their space agency putting its money where citizens want it to be, but citizens are putting additional money down in terms of spaceflight deposits and propelling "Gravity" to the top of the box office for yet another week.
Doesn't the Washington Post have a research staff to fact check these op eds before they are published? Obviously not.