About a month ago, Newt Gingrich addressed the Space Foundation outlining some radical thinking on how best to get ROI on our investment of $17B each year. Calling NASA a "Ground-based, Ground-centered Payroll Program" disguised as a space program, Ginrich walked through what will be our collective failure to keep up with the Russians and Chinese in the coming years. And he also suggested some interesting ways to avoid that fate.
Many of those thoughts were reprised on the back page of Av Week last week. His key point: we have allowed the Emperor and his bureaucratic minions to perpetuate an "insane model" that is so risk adverse, it avoids achievement. If we had used the $157.5B that has been spent on circling the planet over the past 10 years with the same vigor and determination we expressed during the Apollo Program, we would be on Mars right now.
And yet, we see the Emperor sticking to his half-baked ideas, unable and/or unwilling to call on the best and brightest to offer a solution to close the gap and inspire the next generation. Newt may not have it all worked out, but he offers some food for thought. Check out his recent speech at the link below. You may find yourself thinking on some new paths after that.