The stories are circulating. President Bush will announce backing for the NASA Prometheus Project during his January 28th State of the Union Address. This is an effort to design and build an advanced, nuclear based rocket engine for manned solar system missions.
It is a major step forward for those of us who have spent our lives fighting to open the high frontier. My preference is for everything to be commercial and private, but I recognize there is simply no way on Earth this kind of propulsion system can be privately built in the political reality we live in.
If built, it suddenly makes the Moon an economically feasible place to do business and Mars a place that is reachable for settlement within our life times.
Given what I know of some of the people whom the Bush administration brought in for space policy, I expected good things. Even though I have been aware of such ideas being floated for over a year now, I was not prepared for goodness on this scale.
I intend to buy one of them a pint the next time I’m in DC.