Saturday’s issue of The Tennessean features a number of editorials and op-eds on NASA’s plans to establish a lunar base, including an essay by Rep. Bart Gordon, incoming chairman of the House Science Committee. Gordon likens a lunar base to existing bases in Antarctica in terms of scientific and strategic importance:
Like our bases in Antarctica, a moon base appears to offer the promise of a research facility that could advance our knowledge, prepare the nation for future exploration and promote international cooperation in science and technology. And like our presence in Antarctica, it’s strategically important for us to be on the moon, given other nations will eventually be there, too.
However, Gordon said he and others in Congress need more details about the base from NASA, and signs from the administration that they’re serious about the project by requesting the appropriate amount of funding for the overall exploration program: “If a return to the moon is really the president’s priority, he needs to come up with the funds required, not simply take money from NASA’s other core missions and programs.”
An editorial in the same issue endorses, to some degree, the lunar base plans, although not on its scientific merits so much as for national spirit: “…inherent in the debate over the choices the United States makes over space exploration is the nice realization that in terms of discovery, America has a can-do spirit again.”