I'm a die-hard science fiction fan and a big supporter of space exploration. So you might think that I'm interested in Bush's plan to go to Mars via a base on the Moon. Nope. I think it's retarded. And not just because I think Bush sucks. I think it's retarded because it is retarded.

If the goal is to get to Mars, why would we stop at the moon? Unless significant parts of the craft or its fuel are going to manufactured on the moon, there's absolutely no reason to go there! And if we want manufacturing plants on the moon, why not invest the $billions on nano-facturing research instead? And if no payload is being built on the moon, why not invest the $billions on an orbital or L5 docking facility?

If the goal is to send people to Mars, our current propulsion technology it totally inadequate. So why not spend the $billions on nuclear propulsion research?

Greg Easterbrook says it a lot better than I could, because he uses math. He absolutely destroys the Bush Moon/Mars space concept: "In the days to come, any administration official who says that a Moon base could support a Mars mission is revealing himself or herself to be a total science illiterate. When you hear, 'A Moon base could support a Mars mission, substitute the words, 'I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about.'"

Basically, this whole thing sounds like a crock of shit to me. Just like when another Bush proposed we'd go to Mars as part of his re-election campaign. Bush Sr. lost.

Update: Island of Balta lays out the case for a L1 station rather than a moonbase, by way of discussing the USA and NASA's failures in space (both of engineering and political will).