Now that the election is finally (finally!) over, NASA has started to slowly unveil its future plans, secure in the knowledge that a president who isn’t totally ass-backwards on science is sitting in the White House for another four years.
I’ll give it to you in Gnomish.
Phase 1: Get probes up on the moon to look for water. We already know it’s there because NASA bombed the moon back in 2009 and unearthed rather a lot of it. Turns out that parts of the lunar subterranean are wetter than parts of Earth, such as the Sahara. Before you say “well, duh” keep in mind that this is the moon we’re talking about here.
Phase 2: Land some dudes on an asteroid, presumably to take a closer look at future mining possibilities before the private sector establishes its monopoly. There’s also that mothership buzzing around that really needs to be shot down.
Phase 3: Build the Newt Gingrich lunar colony on the far side of the moon, where A) no one can see it, just to troll moon landing-deniers even further, and B) to give college stoners another reason to throw on Dark Side of the Moon.
Phase 4: Construct new stations at the Lagrange points to facilitate our new moon base and further fiddly-pokery around the rest of the solar system. Mass Effect was right!
Phase 5: Get Your Ass To Mars! If the unexpectedly-long lifespan of Opportunity was any indication (eight years and counting!) Curiosity will undoubtedly still be roaming around by the time we get there, probably quite lonely. Hang in there little buddy.
Phase 6: ???
Phase 7: Profit!
Before you start packing your bags and flipping the bird to all the landlubbers you can’t wait to leave behind on Earth, keep in mind that all of this will still likely take two or three decades to accomplish. Unless that crazy Mars-based reality show actually takes off, in which case, enjoy your deathtrap, ladies!
It is, of course, really nice to see that the wheels are in motion at all. That said, if the old Soviet Union is ever going to break out of its zombie slumber, now would be a great time.
Source: Space. (Spaaaaace!)