I was listening to NPR Science Friday today. It's been 40 years since we first went to the moon and over 35 since we've been back. That to me is an atrocity.
Anyway, it's the same old conundrum. When our nation is in such massive debt, when there are children who have no medical care, how can we spend billions and billions of dollars over the next 10 years designing new space craft?
Some at NASA have an innovative idea. Take parts from the existing space shuttles and put together one new craft at massively less cost and time. The problem? Then you have one craft that can go to the moon... and do precious little to advance our exploration of space elsewhere.
Then my mind went to Nupedia. Ever heard of it? No? It was scrapped before it hardly got started. It was old school encylopedia. Commission some experts to write some articles for a new online encyclopedia. Why didn't it make it? Wikipedia did thousands and thousands of times more in a year or two by letting us all make it.
Now someone like me shouldn't be allowed to post on Wiki-Space. You should have to have a graduate degree in some relevant discipline. But what if NASA and the space agencies of the world opened up a Wiki for development? This group of the geekiest of the geeks works on engine stuff. That group works on shield stuff. This one on navigation. That one on life support. Certainly some stuff wouldn't be public and there would be NASA people putting it into final form.
But the genius of decentralization is the ticket. This sort of people does this kind of stuff as a hobby. Imagine having 200 geniuses give thousands of hours of research for free! You've heard of Open Source software? It's Open Source engineering!