Pence is shooting for the moon

Jason Adams, Courier Staff

Towards the end of March, Vice President Mike Pence discussed plans to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon. He stated this plan is backed by President Trump and has allowed NASA to do what it takes to meet this goal with an expected timeframe of 2024. To summarize, Pence wants NASA to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon after 50 years of the first moon landing. I have a few questions about this.

Just to get this out of the way I know some people think the moon landing was fake so this would be the first trip, that would actually be real. I know there’s evidence to suggest both sides of that argument and some people are adamant that the moon landing was faked. While I was obviously not there for the original landing, the points I’ve seen that have shown the landing to be real have made more sense. If you think it was faked, just bare with me and pretend it wasn’t.

The biggest question for me is where would the money for this endeavor come from? Space travel is not exactly a cheap endeavor. The Apollo program that put a man on the moon was calculated to have costed what today would be $200 billion after factoring in inflation. It wasn’t called a national goal for no reason. No recent federal budget proposal has come anywhere near having that much money expendable. In fact, Trump proposed a 2 percent cut to the NASA budget for the 2020 year, seems kinda contradictory. Serious cuts would have to be put in to afford that kind of mission. There were already talks of cutting the budget in places as it is, including education. There is no way the U.S. could afford an endeavor like this currently or in the near future. That is a lot of money for a country in debt to put out on something relatively trivial. Plus, it would require massive cuts in other departments, some of which are probably necessary. Back in the 1960s and 1970s when these efforts were in full swing, taxes were much higher and more of the budget was allocated for NASA, that’s no longer the case today. The U.S. is not as prosperous as it once was.

Even if the U.S had that kind of money to spend, there are much more important issues or better ways to spend that money. Just an idea here but maybe help struggling public schools and universities. A lot of schools across the country are struggling with financial problems that are affecting their functioning and employment. Or even put it towards expanding the pell grant and other grants so more students can get financial help affording school. Putting money into alternative fuels would also be a better use of the money, since climate conditions continue to worsen. More funding for veteran programs to help them get readjusted to civilian life and to help them with medical bills is also another option of where this money could go towards. There are so many better uses for this money, why would the U.S. use it on something trivial?