Blogging the Moon - by Paul Spudis

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NASA has been in the news lately for reasons beyond the exciting discoveries of various and vast quantities of water on the Moon. Unfortunately, the long, drawn out repositioning of our national space program has brought the space community to loggerheads, leaving the future of the U.S. manned space program in jeopardy. The upheaval caused by fights over rocket designs and suppliers, and the “Eenie, meenie, minie, moe” formula being used to select our new space direction, has placed the U.S. space program in peril. For over two decades Paul Spudis has had a front row seat to the U.S. national space program and has written extensively about space policy and space science. His opinions and insights recently found a home on the Air and Space Magazine blog, The Once and Future Moon. Beginning with his reporting from India in October of 2008 (as the principal investigator of NASA's Mini-SAR, watching his radar being launched to the Moon aboard Chandrayaan-1), Paul's easy to read essays have followed and reported on the growing upheaval in the space community and the battle being waged for the ideological control of and funding for space exploration, and the resulting chaos. While covering the progress of lunar return under the Vision for Space Exploration (approved by two different Congresses of different parties with overwhelming majority votes) was the original purpose of his The Once and Future Moon blog, historic events intervened. As our direction in space became more uncertain, the space community began eating its own, and the posting of science essays took a smaller role in the unfolding space policy drama. In keeping with his call for a strong U.S. human space program, Paul Spudis outlines and explains the importance of creating a sustainable space program through the use of the Moon's resources to create new capabilities to live and work in space and move humanity off planet. These essays and reader comments are compiled in Blogging the Moon.