Okay, so we want to go to the Moon. And there’s serious evidence of water on Mars.
So why aren’t we going? There’s certainly no shortage of Americans yearning for a new frontier, and perfectly willing to train up on waldos and whatever else would be involved in creating a new set of colonies. We’re even reasonably sure what that sort of work would entail.
But NASA’s plans aren’t serious. The Moon in twenty years? Based on the gradual refurbishment of 1960s technology? So that five people can stay there for half a year, doing who knows what? Lift, now that the ABM Treaty is done and gone for: if the US were serious about getting into space, it would pioneer and Orion drive and be done with it by putting the equivalent of the USS Enterprise into orbit with every launch, with sufficient tonnage both to carry water shielding against radiation and to possess rotating decks for spin gravity.
Believe it or not, this ain’t science fiction any more. So why isn’t it being done? It’s not like we can’t contain the radiation effects at the launch site — they had that figured out in the 1970s. So what’s the deal?