Good move on last day of session

Published 11:22 am Monday, October 4, 2010

Members of Congress ended their session and rushed home to campaign for re-election last week, leaving unfinished much of the work they should have been doing. Fortunately, before the House adjourned its members did pass one important bill: instructions for NASA to turn to private companies for future space launches and put a return to the moon on hold.

It has been apparent for years that America’s interests in space will better be served by businesses that stand to (eventually) earn a profit from their endeavors. Endless budget problems and a general federal inability to get things done have made the prospects of major NASA-led advances very slim. NASA can, however, act as a conductor and facilitator for businesses.

It is imperative for the long-term health of the United States (and for the world) that exploration of space continue. Like all exploration, that is best done by those who have something to gain from the risks entailed.

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Unfortunately, in its rush to adjourn, the House did not also pass an appropriation bill to match its new plan for NASA. That will, however, eventually happen. And this week’s start is at least movement in the right direction.