Saturday, July 07, 2012
While I entirely agree with Steuart Campbell's wish that, as human beings, we should be as willing as our ancestor's to explore new horizons (Letter 6th July), in this case Mars, I think he understates the case.
The idea that we shouldn't do anything in space until all problems have been settled here would have meant Columbus still waiting at the dock. That would have done nothing to solve Europe's problems.
The commercial space industry is growing at 10% worldwide and 17.6% in the USA because they are being driven by a series of X-prizes*. This industry is also already the fastest growing in Britain despite the lack of government support.
UKIP have recently called for the £275 million we put into the European Space Agency, where it overwhelmingly disappears into the maw of European bureaucracy, into a British Space X-Prize fund instead.
One space industrialist has already confirmed that this will be "plenty" to kick-start a commercial British spaceplane.
If our political classes continue to turn their backs on our fastest growing industry, on the excuse that they have to wait until the economy is fine before doing anything nothing will ever be done.
Britain could establish itself as a, possibly the, world leader in space industrialisation, without spending a penny more than we already give to European bureaucracy.######################################
Minor grammatical editing plus I wrote UKIP but they spelled it out to the full name. Note to self - next time I should write it "United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)" which gets the name in twice. Also the asterisked bit - they added that the American X-Prizes came from the X-Prize Foundation which is not entirely correct, there are a number of such prizes, only some of which come from there.
I did also send out letters to every paper drawn from my previous blog here but Google news don't show any of them being used.
This is part of a series of letters which went out on the subject of NASA's most recent promise to go to Mars in a couple of decades if given a blank cheque. I think the way I have written this does a disservice to Steuart Campbell whose previous letter had in turn been an answer to a silly woman who who doesn't want us to go to Mars because western imperialism is doing so badly!! My point in saying that he had understated is that his letter had been about the exploratory urge and human destiny which are indeed the ultimate reasons for doing it, whereas I concentrated on the economic advantages.
Its raining soup and the old parties are taking the money we should buy buckets with to feed the European gravy train.