Free Markets in Space

The Houston Chronicle has published a terrific op-ed by Ayn Rand Institute staff writer Robert Garmong titled “Myth of government-only exploration lost in space.” From the article:

On Monday, SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded manned spacecraft, captured the $10 million X Prize by making its second trip to outer space in less than a week. In doing so, it did more than shatter the boundary of outer space: It destroyed forever the myth that space exploration can only be done by the government.
Earlier this year, a Bush administration panel on space exploration recommended that NASA increase the role of private contractors in the push to permanently settle the moon and eventually explore Mars. But it appears that neither the administration nor anyone else has yet considered the true free-market solution for America’s moribund space program: complete privatization.
There is a contradiction at the heart of the space program: Space exploration, as the grandest of man’s technological advancements, requires the kind of bold innovation possible only to minds left free to pursue the best of their thinking and judgment. Yet by placing the space program under governmental funding, we necessarily place it at the mercy of governmental whim. The results are written all over the past 20 years of NASA’s history: The space program is a political animal, marked by shifting, inconsistent and ill-defined goals.

Read the full article for additional information.