Who thinks China lacks the financial resources to fulfill its five-year plan? The Chinese are flush with money we pay them for goods made there and sold here.
The next president should declare a rebirth of the U.S. space program with clear goals, such as a U.S. moon colony and a trip to Mars. A reduction in unnecessary government spending will help pay for it. Other democratic nations might share the financial burden and receive some benefits. We cannot afford to allow China to become the new leader in space exploration.
Many former U.S. astronauts and NASA employees have criticized the Obama administration's retreat from manned spaceflight. In 2010, Neil Armstrong told the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology that the Obama administration's decision to end moon exploration and other projects contributes to a "substantial erosion of the United States' historically highly regarded space industrial base," which has led to "a reduction in the number of students pursuing advanced engineering degrees." He added, "A lead -- however earnestly and expensively won -- once lost is nearly impossible to regain."
Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, expressed similar concerns before the same committee.
There will be a space leader in the 21st century. If that leader is China and not the U.S., we will pay a heavy price that will cost us far more than money.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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