Not to be

I realized today I can no longer objectively support manned exploration of space. Shuttle missions, sure. Low orbit tourism, why not. But Mars? The Moon? Why? Either it is purely a ra-ra vanity mission, or there would have to be a pretty important reason to spend that kind of money to send people.

For a fraction of the cost, of course, we can send fleets of robots and landers, probes and satellites. And let's face it: America is broke. It''s hard to justify a vanity project when a debtor.

Now, China on the other hand - they've got the cash to consider a glory grab to the Moon. I hope they go for it, but does it make any sense for them to? I don't see it, other than pure national vanity.

Sadly, my childhood dreams of Moon bases and personal rocket ships will not come to pass in my lifetime, and maybe not for a long time, if ever. Alas, also.

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