I want to respond to Dov Menkes of Fullerton's letter to the Los Angeles Times on December 14.
Mr. Menkes complains that Bush's proposed missions to the Moon and Mars are "boondoggles". He thinks we can find a better way to spend $500 billion.
I have to say that I disagree. In my opinion and in the opinion of many of us who truly think of the future, the pursuit of space is the noblest, most worthwhile endeavor the human race can take. I know many will agree with Mr. Menkes and state that we should be spending our time and money on fighting diseases, feeding the poor and such. I'm not about to say those opinions are wrong but don't dismiss space exploration as anything less, a priority.
The paradox of human beings is we focus so much on improving the quality and length of our own lives and our children. Yet, as we do this, we have overpopulated our planet to the point where it gets so crowded and polluted that we jeopardize the quality and lengths of our lives that we think we are improving on. We may have already reached that point. It has been speculated that the next generation will have a lower life-span expectancy than the current one.
If you truly think ahead, think beyond your children or even your grandchildren. Instead, think about your children's children's children and where they will be. On a planet ravaged by war and environmental disasters, are they going to find it any easier to take the human race beyond our planet? Space is a tremendously long term investment. We won't really reap the rewards in our lifetimes. That doesn't mean we should make the investment, though.