Now, I'm not one of those people who thinks NASA is a big waste of money. They have provided numerous scientific breakthroughs that have helped mankind, plus some cool video such as this short movie released today of Saturn shot by the Cassini-Huygens mission. (Other cool pictures available here) But what Krauthammer is proposing is insane. From the Washington Post:
Moreover, the moon base is not pointless. The shuttles were on an endless trip to the nowhere of low Earth orbit. The moon is a destination. The idea this time is not to go to plant a flag, take a golf shot and leave, but to stay and form a real self-sustaining, extraterrestrial human colony.
Sure, Mars would be better. It holds open the possibility of life and might even have water on its surface today. But the best should not be the enemy of the good. Mars is simply too far, too dangerous, too difficult, too expensive. We won't go there for a hundred years.
Nor is it true that there is nothing of use or even of interest on the moon. There are all kinds of materials to be exploited, observations of the cosmos to be made and knowledge to be gained on how best to live off the land away from Earth.
Self-sustaining, extraterrestrial human colony? Never-mind those pesky human necessities such as food, water, and air. We might not have the technology to sustain human life on the moon for a hundred years, let alone go to Mars.
And what exactly are those materials we are going to exploit? It will never, ever be financially viable to bring back any meaningful moon material for use on the Earth.