NASA Might Never Launch a Manned Mission
Dr. Fred Kelly, P.O. Box 2040, Roseburg, OR 97470
This paper reviews the special medical problems that are expected on a mission to Mars and concludes that, although these problems are formidable, they are solvable. We can go to Mars with the knowledge and technology we have available today.
Then why might NASA never launch a manned mission to the Red Planet? In the authorŐs opinion, the answer is POLITICS. He reviews the role that politics played during his career with NASA that began with Project Mercury and end well after the Shuttle was flying when he took up a new career - writing about space Writers of science fiction sometimes write not to predict the future but to change it. In his new book, THE MARS JOURNALS, he describes how NASA must go to Congress each year with hat in hand begging enough funds to keep a diminishing number of programs alive for another year. When it looks as though political opponents finally get the upper hand and NASA will not survive another congressional debate, the Senator form Texas comes up with a better idea.
ItŐs an idea that not only makes a good book, but one that might deserve serious considerations an answer to NASAŐs perpetual funding problems. Why not convert NASA into a non-profit international organization like the WORLD SPACE CORPORATION? It would be free of national politics. Space programs might be based on scientific rather than political merit.
NASA takes pride in its Technology Transfer Division that encourages the private use of spin-offs from space exploration. These spin-offs from NASA research have spawned industries that add billions to the national economy, but they do not put one red cent into NASAŐs operation budget. The proposed re-organization would change that.
A board of directors with a proven record of fiscal management would run the World Space Corporation. Applicable laws would allow it to hold patents on discoveries and inventions, collect royalties and fees for service, and market products resulting form space research as well as products that could be manufactured in space.
We cannot entertain the delusion that such an organization could initially fund itself without continued support from governments that presently support space exploration. However, if earned revenue were added to the operational budget, these funds would gradually take over more of the fiscal load. Such an organization could have a legitimate chance of eventually becoming financially sound.
NASA has served the nation well and has more than paid its own way for nearly forty years, but it is a flawed organization. Man will colonize Mars, but the red and white and blue emblem of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will never be planted on the Red Planet.