I’m going to get all, like, medieval and counterintuitive on your ass here. Just watch this shit.
Firstly, this liberal is going to rail against wasteful spending by a government agency.
Next, I’m going to decry the expenditure of government funds on scientific research.
After that, I’m going to call for a massive expenditure on a speculative, very likely to never be needed, defensive program designed to protect us from a massively dangerous event.
Actually, no, I’m not going to do any of those things, because Gregg Easterbrook (who publishes at ESPN.com’s Page 2 under the nom de jeu Tuesday Morning Quarterback) already wrote the article explaining all these things. If you don’t feel like jumping into an entire Atlantic cover story-length article, there’s a pretty good (both in the sense of execution and explanation) summary movie.
The short, short version of the argument is that the government has no business building a base on the moon. For that matter, the entire space program, which consists of highly-dangerous missions sending astronauts to a barely-functional space station to conduct entirely frivolous scientific experiments, is a huge waste of money. Instead, we should be spending money to build a system which could detect, analyze and, if necessary, deflect an incoming giant space rock (asteroid or comet.)
As they say, read (or watch) the whole thing.