John Derbyshire on Space Exploration on National Review Online

On Space:

I remain a big fan of the private colonization of space. There are good arguments that it may not turn out to be the "libertarian paradise" that is suggested by many, number one of which being: it would be easier and cheaper to go and colonize Antartica, if it came to that. Conditions are less rough, really. Still, the colonization of space has a flair to it that may inspire Men where Antartica does not. If we want to do it, we probably will.

A good argument as to why the space program can't be left to the government is made today by John Derbyshire. John correctly points out that the only real government interest in space is, and will remain, military:

The things we must do are all military. The main one is, protection of our assets in orbit. When a US Special Forces scout in the Hindu Kush gets down from his mule, unpacks his laptop, takes a GPS reading and calls in an air strike on an al Qaeda camp in the next valley, he needs to know that GPS satellite is in orbit and functioning. If it is, then he is the Angel of Death. If it isn't, he's just a guy with a mule and a game of solitaire. This is important.
He lists several more examples, all of which are essential and military, and none of which require manned space programs. Ultimately, American tax payers will probably not support huge projects that have little practical value. Unless something changes the practical necessities--Chinese military expansion into space, for example--we'll probably stay right here if we leave it to the government.

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