By Robert Zubrin & Homer Hickam
The Washington Post, 12.10.18
Robert Zubrin is president of the Mars Society and Pioneer Astronautics and the author of “The Case for Mars.” Homer Hickam is a former NASA engineer and the author of multiple books, including the memoir “Rocket Boys,” which was made into the film “October Sky.”
Late last year, President Trump directed NASA to “lead the return of humans to the moon.” For most folks, the meaning of this was pretty clear: Americans would soon walk on the moon again.
The space agency, however, had another idea. In February, NASA announced that it is planning to build the Gateway, a mini-space station that would orbit the moon — for no apparent reason.
The vague description of the space station on NASA’s website offers little clarity. There’s no certainty as to when it would be built, what it would be used for or why it is needed. Half a billion dollars are already dedicated to the Gateway this fiscal year without any obvious plan to do anything with the money except spend it. Beyond that, the budget isn’t known but is certain to be huge. NASA further revealed the obtuseness of the ...