We must go to Mars. (Picture from blogger Jason Jeffrey.)
But is there the will? Some argue no.
There are two ways to do it. Both start with Aldrin, Armstrong or Collins making a trip like the one I recently made.
There they offer the Chinese, and the world media, two choices. The U.S. and China can work together, creating a global fund that makes the cost easier to bear for everyone, or China can become our new rival.
What worked before (the Apollo astronauts were all military men before they were astronauts) can work again. Then, when the money is on the table, we can make peace, pool it, and get to work. Or not.
The reason we went to the Moon and haven't gone back is fairly simple. Like Vietnam, Apollo was a Cold War activity. Most of the rockets we fired were thinly-disguised ICBMs. If you can get man out of the gravity well you can also drop the megatons to destroy nations.
That's what worries conservatives, and it should. China's military budget and its space budget are growing in tandem. A Chinese-born man was convicted of stealing space secrets for China just days ago. China is expected to launch a military-run space station as early as next year.
So we come to the President who, before taking office, suggested tearing down the barriers between civilian and military space agencies. The new head of NASA is Charles Bolden. Excuse me, General Charles Bolden, retired Marine.
The wheels for this may already be in motion.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com