Editorial roundup

The Blade, Sept. 17

Few concepts remain as intriguing and exciting as space exploration. From the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969 to the Curiosity rover reaching Mars in 2012, the United States’ achievements when reaching toward the cosmos is a point of national pride.

Many have hoped the next triumph could come in the form of a manned mission to Mars or the construction of a lunar base. But these projects have taken a backseat to NASA’s proposed Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G).

According to NASA officials, the outpost would orbit the Moon and serve as a staging area for missions deeper into space. The idea has been endorsed by the Trump administration. During a speech last month at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Vice President Mike Pence said the administration hopes to have an American crew aboard the LOP-G by 2024.

But critics have emerged with pointed criticisms of the project. Many have noted that the proposal lacks a clearly defined scientific goal.

NASA still does exciting and helpful work — the launch of the Parker Solar Probe in August would be a good example. But the questions surrounding the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway are significant enough that NASA should revisit the usefulness of the project.

Online: https://bit.ly/2D40zFU