The long-awaited report on NASA's future has come out and, as expected, it's bad news for anyone hoping for a return to the moon.
"Panel Says NASA Should Skip Moon, Fly Elsewhere" is the headline on AP's report:
Norman Augustine, chairman of the White House-appointed panel reviewing the agency's spaceflight plans, said it makes more sense to land on a nearby asteroid or one of the moons of Mars. He said that could be done sooner than returning to the moon in 15 years as NASA has outlined.
"Land on a nearby asteroid"? Been there, done that. The accompanying music sucked.
The Obama administration is now facing some tough decisions on NASA and its budget. We're not betting they're going to go on a spending spree
Still, NASA will stay in business in some form. What might it be?
1. Focusing on the SpaceCenter Houston museum/IMAX theater/gift shop. Hey, someone's got to escort those fourth-graders around. Why not an astronaut? If an MIT engineering diploma doesn't give you the necessary skills to herd rambunctious, bored kids, we don't know what does.
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2. Host a reality show. Real Housewifes of the Johnson Space Center. The thrill-a-minute roller-coaster ride that comes with being married to an engineer and splurging at Target.
3. Have an astronaut go nuts and highjack the space station. You think Balloon Boy got coverage? Have an astronaut (Preferably a Russian) smuggle a box-cutter on board and then threaten to start tossing colleagues out the airlock until he gets his way. Ratings through the roof. Eventually an (American) astronaut overpowers him and America can be thankful that the crew can get back to the Very Important work of the space station, whatever that may be.
4. Go ahead. You know everyone wants it: Sex in space. No fratboy watches those videos of weightless female astronauts floating effortlessly about the ISS without thinking of the various positions that could be used after he negs her into a hook-up. Pay-per-view revenue for this one could bring the Mars trip back into feasibility.
5. Admit defeat, resign yourself to small-bore missions, watch as private industry takes over and travel to planets, moons or asteroids becomes but a distant dream. Not to be a downer or anything, but....