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Could America's New Plan to Return to the Moon Be Just a Cruel Diversion?

— BBC VIDEO NEWS: New Mission to the Moon Is Much Like the Last One. Will Americans Pay for It?, Sept. 19, 00:01:38
— BBC VIDEO NEWS: NASA Oulines Its New Mission, Sept. 19, 00:22:53

NASA Moon Mission Nothing But a 'Pumped-up Show'

After portraying its abysmal handling of the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina like the “minor disappointment of an incorrect weather forecast,” the Bush Administration has come up with something new to focus American minds. According to this article from France’s Liberation, the strategy now is to make people forget with plans for ‘Apollo on Steroids.’

By Pierre Mercelle

September 21, 2005

Liberation - Original Article (French)    

NASA Director Michael Griffin Sells Bush's plan for a trip to the Moon.

Even in America, dreams are a hard sell to disillusioned people. And even the dream of colonizing the Moon and attaching another star on the American flag overwhelms more than it excites. Not so much for its cost (no matter what NASA might say, $104 billion is a pretty pile of money) than in what it reveals about the poverty of the quest for propaganda capable of causing people to overlook Baghdad and New Orleans, and treat them like the minor disappointment of an incorrect weather forecast. Thus comes a plan for a base camp on the Moon and the prospect of the long-term conquest of Mars, the red planet (which, in these times of cold peace, will do well as a substitute for a victory over the Reds) …

Take a grand, faintly neo-Rooseveltian idea and a scientific alibi or a pinch of powder thrown into eyes focused on the Milky Way, and one or the other is supposed to bring some pep back and return order this model of Empire. This remake of The Walk on the Moon is as rocky and dusty as the surface of a star that no longer has the power to make us fantasize, since one knows that it is cold, dull and dead, no longer an object of our dreamlike illusions. 

At this price, even an expedition aimed at establishing a democracy amongst the penguins of the Arctic would be a better deal. This is once-used packaging. Leftover words which, in the absence of substance, were said in order to awaken our blissful memories of weightlessness and a great leap forward for humanity (note: not "for America,"  but "for humanity!"). If these words were contemptible, a few at least were quite to the point, uttered on Monday in a Freudian slip-of-the-tongue by Michael Griffin. Presenting the project and the means of transport for a small retinue across infinite space (a capsule like the old one), the director of the U.S. space agency declared the new mission, "Apollo on steroids" (yes, as on the Tour de France). It was no a joke, but a heartfelt cry emphasizing that such restrictions are waived where necessary. Thus, a steroid-inflated America reveals to us the essence of an enterprise that is to reawaken its majesty: a business that if viewed without reverence, is just a pumped-up show.

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