Space travel

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So it seems that Obama has finally decided (roughly) what to do with the future of NASA.

The new budget scraps the Constellation program (meaning direct funding won’t be going into an Apollo-recreating moon mission), but it does give funding to development of truly new concepts and technologies, where the Constellation program was more aimed at repeating old science. Hopefully this scientific innovation not only contributes back to society in much the same way that many of the advances of the Apollo program did, but also works out as more useful in the long run for space colonisation and general space presence.

The funding also shifts the focus toward privatisation of space flight. Private companies and prize pools are already showing great promise, and we will likely see the first humans in space through these programs in a matter of years. Such a funding shift makes sense, and will likely accelerate the development of commercially viable spaceflight in a way that NASA would simply be unable to achieve.

Obama is also pushing to extend the International Space Station (ISS) program till 2020, which I think is another valuable step. It strikes me as a step backward to remove our only permanent space habitation from orbit.

The next 10 or so years will be very interesting indeed.