Greg Autry – Director, SoCal Commercial Spaceflight Center debated Robert Zubrin about the Lunar Gateway. Greg Autry says that the Lunar Gateway will be part of a larger space infrastructure effort for going to moon, Mars and Deep Space. Autry bemoans the fast that NASA no longer has 5% of the US federal budget like it did during the peak of the Apollo era.
Zubrin indicates that we can accomplish great things with a purpose-driven space program that has engineering rationality. NASA has more inflation-adjusted dollars from 1998 to 2018 than it did from 1958 to 1978. The reason for falling behind the US federal budget is that the US economy is ten times bigger and there is far more bloat in the overall government budget.
The Lunar Gateway is a mini-International Space Station in Lunar Orbit. The International Space Station cost $150 billion.
Zubrin points out that the International Space Station (ISS) was originally justified as a staging point for lunar missions and Mars missions. The ISS is no longer in the NASA moon plans because they are no longer trying to sell and build the ISS. The ISS has returned to being a mostly useless waste and a fast more expensive way to accomplish the same science.
Gene Autry think that somehow using the Lunar Gateway can somehow be more efficient than the multiple launch system which is in the current plan. He thinks it would provide some kind of useful redundancy.
Gene Autry uses the threat of China creating exclusion zones on the Moon to effectively claim parts of it. Much like NASA used the Russia threat to justify budgets during the Apollo era. Gene came into NASA in 2016 and he disavows the waste prior to 2016.
Autry shows that NASA and commercial interests like United Launch, Boeing and Lockheed want to sell the products that they have made for decades. They want to use parts of the Space Shuttle that have been made since the 1980s and they want to sell and use parts derived from the Space Station. All of it is overpriced and obsolete.
Autry dismissed using lunar materials like producing oxygen for fuel as being a major part of any plan until it has been accomplished. Instead Autry and NASA spend $4 billion per year for multiple years preparing the Space Launch System for its first mission launch and $2 billion per year on the Orion capsule. They prepare for another $100 billion spend on the Lunar Gateway.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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