- We had not landed on the moon in 1969, but given up after the fire on Apollo 11?
- We had skipped the space shuttle and built a moon base? A Mars Base?
- President Kennedy had not decisively called us to action in 1962 to go to the moon?
- We never invented Tang? (which actually had nothing to do with the space program, but think about a world without Tang!)
- President Kennedy had not been shot, or he had been shot but not killed?
- The challenger hadn’t exploded in 1986?
- Columbia wasn’t destroyed in 2003?
- We let private enterprises buy Mir and helped them run it?
- We had built Gerrard O’Neill’s space colony?
- We had picked up the pieces from the Challenger accident in 1986 and turned the space program around then?
- We heard alien communications on another planet, how would we contact them?
- War broke out and our planet was permanently ruined, where would we go?
- We made contact with alien life forms tomorrow, how prepared would we be for an attack? To greet them peacefully?
- The Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the moon and only Michael Collins had made it home?
- The Apollo 13 crew didn’t make it home?
- The fire didn’t happen in Apollo 1?
- The Vietnam war wasn’t going on during the 1960’s space race?
- The Russians had beat us to the moon?
- We had continued working closely with the Russians following the Apollo/Soyuz docking?
- The US Govenment had bought Mir from the Russians in 2000?
- We had continued the Star Wars weapons in space program?
- We had not lost the plans to the Saturn rocket system?
- We didn’t have computers, primitive as they may have been, to help us get to the moon?
- We had developed a space shuttle that met the original low cost/high rate of flight specification we originally set out to create?
- We had developed a space shuttle that did not have such small radius leading edge flight surfaces and been able to use a heat shield system that is not so brittle?
- What if the answer to the meaning of universe is in fact 42?
- We had forced large companies that supply parts/design/services to act like small nimble businesses and innovate like them?
- The Chinese are walking on the moon in 2015 and we haven’t flown Ares yet?
- We could collect power from the sun in space and beam it to the surface of the earth?
- We found microorganisms on Mars or Europa tomorrow?
- While building a better rocket to mars, we discovered new technology to take us to Canus Major?
- We found a cure for cancer in the mineral deposits of the craters of Oberon, Uranus’ moon?
- We gave the world something positive to work toward, together?
- We found a new way to make delicious food last for years at a time while building a moon base?
- What if we don’t review the successor to the Space Shuttle program and end up building another system that doesn’t accomplish any of our goals?
- What if we abandon the US Space program?
- What if we Open Source all of the US Space Program technologies and let competitions run for every component we need?
- What if several of the Google Lunar X Prize teams is wildly successful?
- What if Virgin Galactic is flying hundreds of people on suborbital flights in a few years?
- What if there’s an accident? What if there isn’t?
- What if breakthroughs in robotics in space exploration lead to fully autonomous vehicles on earth?
What if the Romulans attack Vulcan and we aren't there to defend them!
We have Willian Shatner still, I think he has this covered.
Ahhh… good point. We can always use a trebuchet to launch Shatner at them.
Here's my idea using the example of curing cancer (but fill in anything else that we want.) The Feds call for a solution to the problem: here's what we want someone to do, and here is how we define success. The first company to do it gets all of their R&D expenses back, they'll never again have to pay any corporate taxes, and no one that worked on the project will ever again have to pay personal income tax. If appealing to altruism isn't getting problems solved, let's try greed 🙂
Outside of the 400 pages of rules they'd come up with for this, it's not a bad idea.
I wouldn't worry about that, Mike. That will be handled by the Department of Redundancy dept.