As Americans continue to struggle under the weight of soaring inflation and rising costs, as the Biden administration continues to pass trillion-dollar packages and sends billions to Ukraine sans any oversight, citizens are debating whether or not NASA’s mission to return astronauts to the lunar surface is worth the $93 billion it will take to get them there.
As the Saturday launch of Artemis I, an unmanned rocket tasked with circumnavigating the moon before returning home, is threatened with yet another delay due to hydrogen fuel leaks, folks in Washington, D.C. have, for the most part, told Fox News that the tens of billions NASA will spend to return Americans to the moon is money well spent, especially considering the first woman is expected to leave her mark on the surface by the third manned voyage.
(Video: Fox News)
One citizen named Martin believes the trip may go a long way in bringing humanity back together.
“I think it’s time to go back,” he told Fox News. “It’s something that can bring us together as humans and mankind, to explore outer space.”
The first four Artemis missions will set Americans back an “unsustainable” $4.1 billion, NASA’s inspector general told Congress, with the costs topping $93 billion by 2025.
Still, former NASA contractor, Sarah, agrees with Martin.
“I look back at the Apollo missions and all of the innovation, the discovery, bringing Americans together, all the best scientists and engineers together,” she said. “I’m much in favor of sending a man and women back to the moon.”
Whether or not the awe and inspiration the world felt as Neil Armstrong made his “giant leap for mankind” in 1969 can be recaptured in today’s divided world remains to be seen, but Americans are hopeful, and, right now, that’s something on which it is difficult to place a monetary value — especially when the U.S. government is bleeding money on causes that most Americans consider low on the priority list.
TIPP Insights: Americans are united on prioritizing domestic fossils over climate change https://t.co/MfOj0Ed1zY
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“I’m old enough to remember the last guy on the moon,” Norm told Fox News. “It was really cool, and I thought it was good for the Americans just to do it.”
“I do think it’s a good idea for the U.S.,” she said. “I grew up in the ’60s and was pretty excited about the push to land the moon then. We should continue that direction.”
But not everyone is keen on a new wave of lunar landings.
“I’m an old guy and I know we went there in ’69,” Peter told the news network. “I’m not sure what we got out of it other than the fact that we could do it.”
According to Rick, there are too many other, bigger fish to fry at the moment.
“As much as I love space, it’s not my top priority,” he said. “There’s a lot of other reasons I would spend the public’s money on.”
This time around, however, the moon may just be a pitstop to something even more extraordinary.
“We not only need to go to the moon, we need to see if we can go anywhere else,” Alfonso stated.
Martin agrees, adding that there’s “a whole universe out there and why limit ourselves just to our planet if we have the ability and the technology and the initiatives to move forward?”
“We have all this technology,” he stated. “We’ve got to use it.”
But first, that technology is going to have to start cooperating.
The test dummies aboard Artemis I’s unmanned crew capsule were forced to once again stand down following yet another dangerous hydrogen fuel leak from the 322-foot rocket, the Associated Press reports.
The most powerful rocket NASA has ever built sprang hydrogen leaks earlier this week, forcing the first launch to be scrubbed. Now, Saturday’s launch has also been postponed.
The #Artemis I mission to the Moon has been postponed. Teams attempted to fix an issue related to a leak in the hardware transferring fuel into the rocket, but were unsuccessful. Join NASA leaders later today for a news conference. Check for updates: https://t.co/6LVDrA1toy pic.twitter.com/LgXnjCy40u
— NASA (@NASA) September 3, 2022
“Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson and her team tried to plug Saturday’s leak the way they did the last time: stopping and restarting the flow of super-cold liquid hydrogen in hopes of removing the gap around a seal in the supply line,” AP explains. “They tried that twice, in fact, and also flushed helium through the line. But the leak persisted.”
After nearly four hours of fruitless efforts, Blackwell-Thompson halted the countdown, prompting Darrol Nail, NASA’s launch commentator, to announce, “We have a scrub for the day.”
Unlike on Monday’s failed attempt, the hydrogen fuel was on Saturday escaping from the engine section, located at the bottom of the rocket.
And, AP reports, leaking fuel wasn’t the only problem encountered on Monday. A faulty sensor incorrectly indicated that one of the four engines on the rocket was too warm when, in fact, it was fine, and cracks in Artemis’s insulating foam were detected.
While they were willing to risk the sensors and insulation, the new hydrogen leak ended the opportunity to launch.
When NASA can learn if the third time will be the charm is still up in the air.
“After Tuesday, a two-week launch blackout period kicks in,” AP explains. “Extensive fuel leak repairs could require that the rocket be hauled off the pad and back into its hangar, possibly pushing the flight into October.”
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