If you look at the percent of the federal budget currently being invested in NASA, you’ll find that you have to go all the way back to 1959, the first full year of NASA’s existence, to encounter a time where we invested less in the agency than we do today. When we chose to go to the Moon, it was accompanied by a tremendous increase in the resources we devoted to the endeavor: up to nearly 5% of the federal budget. Today, that figure sits at just 0.4% of the budget (0.11% of our GDP), or less than one-tenth of what we invested in NASA the last time we sent humans to the Moon.
NASA’s crewed spaceflight missions since the end of Apollo have focused on low-Earth orbit. But if the goal is to explore the Universe, and to take humanity deeper and farther into the cosmic sea than we’ve ever gone, a return to the Moon won’t accomplish that. The vision of the Trump administration, laid out earlier this year, involves a shocking proposal, to build a lunar space station orbiting the Moon. In no way, shape, or form does a lunar space station prepare us or aid us in going to either the Moon or Mars. Instead, it’s a project that merely serves to: