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NASA Gets a Buzz: Aldrin Speaks Out on the New Space Race (News) June 30, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in Current News, Int'l Space Station, McCain, Obama, Soyuz.
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The Telegraph has interviewed Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon and outspoken advocate of moon colonization, with some interesting results.

“To me it’s abysmal that it has come to this: after 50 years of Nasa, and after putting about $100 billion into the space station, we can’t get our own astronauts to our space station without relying on the Russians.”

-Buzz Aldrin, on the U.S. having to hitch rides on the Russian Soyuz to reach the ISS

Buzz appeals for the next U.S. President to embrace the Vision for Space Exploration (John McCain did so earlier this month) and expressed concern that the U.S. was already falling behind. Last month, according to the interview article, NASA’s Constellation head Rick Gilbrecht “that Chinese astronauts were on schedule to get to the moon by 2017 or 2018” (on a manned mission to being work on a base), a good two or three years faster than the U.S. He also criticizes the lack of investment in commercial efforts, and NASA’s lack of encouragement of tourist-effort-friendly technologies and policies.

As far as concern over getting to the Moon again before China (as opposed to concern over them actually building a base first), I think it’s not really that significant a loss if China puts men/women on the Moon before we do in this century. Getting a base up first would be nice, yes, but nitpicking (for its own sake) on actually setting foot on Luna again first is probably excessive. We already own the record, and whoever comes along next isn’t that important; though, Aldrin’s concern could be primarily that it would mark the beginning of a trend.

Or, perhaps China getting back to the moon first would do us some good, pinch us out of our sleep. A little kick in the rear might light that patriotic fire is us again (and yes, that’s Buzz himself in that last link).

In the meantime, it should be interesting to keep an eye on what ol’ Buzz continues to do in his quest of advocacy…

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