Friday, May 23, 2008

Go back to space, you astronaut !

Andy Thomas spoke before the Senate telling us Australia needs a space agency. Funded by tax dollars, of course.

Dr Thomas told a Senate inquiry into the space industry, sitting in Adelaide today, that Australia should establish a dedicated space agency to foster expertise in everything from satellite technology to rocket launching.

He said even modest investment now, through collaborative projects with other international space agencies, would help Australia boost national security and strengthen the national economy.

"Imagine then the sense of national pride ... imagine the excitement young people would feel knowing an important discovery regarding climate change, or an image from the moon, or the discovery that life once existed on Mars had an Australian origin.

"Imagine the community response knowing there's an Australian flag on the side of an instrument sitting on the surface of the moon or on Mars.

Oh come off it. What a waste of effort. This would cost billions to put a flag on the moon, surely there are better things we can do. It doesn't put food on the table, it doesn't provide us with services or housing (not that bureaucrats do a good job of that with our tax dollars either !)

But unfortunately for Andy, we've actually seen an emergence of the private sector in space travel in recent decades, and launching rockets into space no longer belongs in the realm of big government.

Dr Thomas said that without Australian investment and the development of a space industry, future Australian children would be unable to view images of human footprints on the Martian or lunar surfaces with any sense of national pride.

"I consider this a very bland legacy to leave the next generation," he said.

I'll take bland and wealthy over exotic and bankrupt any day !