The new Biden administration is already slashing several of the development policies initiated by the Trump presidency, such as the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office. Biden is also promoting the anti-growth, de-industrialization insanity of the Green New Deal by committing the U.S. to rejoining the Paris Carbon Limitation Treaty. The question remains, what will happen to Trump’s Artemis space exploration initiative.
The Artemis Moon-Mars Exploration Program has set a deadline for bringing astronauts back to the moon by 2024. It is the most important science driver since JFK’s declared intention in a 1961 joint session of Congress — “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
Enormous science projects invigorate the economy by creating new technologies and scientific discoveries. But more importantly, they invigorate the culture as a whole by challenging and inspiring our youth to participate in these scientific and technological developments. This was an effect that was dramatically evident during the Kennedy administration.
We have recently witnessed the results of just such a crash scientific effort, with the development of COVID-19 vaccines, just 12 months after the target part of the virus, the spike protein, was identified and characterized.
This crash effort, spearheaded by support from the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, involved tens of thousands of researchers and lab technicians around the world, and tens of billions of dollars in investment.
The result is not just a vaccine, but also the development of techniques that can be rapidly applied for producing vaccines against new infectious diseases. Treatments can also be developed for a huge variety of other diseases that involve abnormal proteins or genes. Since most of the major causes of death in the U.S. have as least a partial inheritable pattern — such as cancer, heart disease and stroke — the techniques of protein and gene therapies have the potential to radically treatments and preventions for these chronic diseases.
This scientific crash program must be defended from the anti-science mob, since the issues of treatment and prevention of major diseases are fundamental to the needs of the population.