We Need China’s Space Program

To give the United States a big kick in the rear.

China announced plans to land a probe on the moon. Granted, this is an unmanned probe and not landing a person, but the Chinese may continue to push forward toward a manned landing. I suspect they will.

Is this at all unnerving to a US Citizen? Well, there are a couple of things to consider.

Please be another Sputnik….please

Troubling news doesn’t necessarily translate into a troubled economy or troubling investment returns. In fact, it is often the opposite. Investment returns in the US stock market after the launch of Sputnik were phenomenal. Investment returns were so good during the 10 years following Sputnik that it is almost unimaginable to the investor today. Click here to read my post on that.

Competition gets us going

It has been nearly 50 years since the moon landing. The National Air and Space Museum is now more of a historical archive than a bridge to the future.

I am completely against the idea that space travel is a waste of money. If you just look at an isolated event like the moon landing, you might say “where are the economic returns?” But when you look at everything that came out of those efforts – rocket technology, satellites, etc, you can see how important it was to our economy today. For example, there would no GPS without satellites, and there would be no satellites at all if it hadn’t started with the Soviets wanting to be able to deliver a nuclear warhead on Washington DC on the head of a rocket.

If the Chinese put a man on the moon, the US will lose its status as the only country to have done so. We will lose our identity as the country that has sent a man to the farthest reaches of our capabilities.

Lets hope this happens.  I think the world could use a kick-start into another space race.

Image from US Department of Agriculture