Some astronomers think of the Earth-Moon system as a “double planet,” our moon being so big and all. Undoubtedly, the Moon has been important for life on this planet, what with the amazing working of tidal effects — it may have even scooped up asteroids and other inter-planetary detritus, protecting our biosphere.
So “liking” the Moon, or wanting to know more about it, is not lunacy. (That “lunacy” derives from “Luna,” our natural satellite’s Latin name, is irrelevant. Really.) But sticking to the Bush-era “Constellation program,” a hopelessly expensive shoot-man-to-the-Moon-again project, long after it proved an idiotic waste of money, is lunatic. One of the great things about dropping the program has been witnessing Barack Obama talk up private enterprise in space. It’s always gratifying to hear the president speak something other than warmed-over socialism.
Enter Sen. Richard Shelby, of Alabama. He calls Obama’s plan to rely increasingly on private enterprise to send stuff into space “a welfare program for the commercial space industry.”
So, is this Republican stalwart thereby a strict free-marketeer, a laissez-faire “no subsidy” man?
No. His “Shelby provision” tacked onto an emergency military spending bill, last year, kept Constellation funding (but not the project itself) going to the tune of $1.4 million. Per day.
And it turns out that one of NASA’s main Constellation contractors hails from his home state, and contributes mightily to Shelby’s campaign coffers.
Worse than lunacy.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.