Sorry, but I couldn’t ignore Dr. Charles Krauthammer’s encomium (Portland Press Herald, Jan. 1) any longer.

His entrepreneurial “visionaries take over the future of space exploration.” Splendid! Which, according to the erudite doctor, “means we are actually – finally – going somewhere again.” But where?

I had thought that NASA pioneers had put us on the moon, orbited a number of planets, landed rovers on Mars, landed on an asteroid, flew close past Pluto, maintained the space telescope probing the outermost reaches of the universe and maintained an astonishing array of satellites monitoring our Earth.

Is all this not “going somewhere”? Are these achievements not commendable and valuable? And are they not exactly what the development and exploration roles of NASA should be?

But wait. Dr. Krauthammer celebrates that the new entrepreneurial visionaries, freed of the “surly bonds” of government, have grander visions and plans.

One is to see “millions of people living and working in space.” (Doing what? Are there no jobs that should be done here on Earth?)

Another is robotic mining expeditions to the moon. (Thus, there is no longer any need to conserve and use wisely our resources on Earth?)

Then there is the plan for space tourism at $250,000 a tickets. (Truly visionary!)

And there is the plan to colonize Mars. (Robert Frost wrote: “Earth’s the right place for love. I don’t know where it is likely to go better.”)

These entrepreneurial visions strike me as very mundane, very pedestrian. None of this seems to have anything to do with “the future of space exploration.” By all means, let us welcome entrepreneurs into space developments, but let us hope they can bring truly visionary ideas to the work. And let us not denigrate the NASA pioneers who make all this possible.

Spencer Apollonio

Boothbay Harbor


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