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Published on Mar 17, 2012
We've heard it all before.. the government should see NASA as an "investment in the future", like the railroads! Those big bad corporations will never open the frontier, because there's no profit to be made! Christopher Columbus never would have discovered the New World if it wasn't for the king and queen of Spain! Lewis and Clark discovered "the west" and if it wasn't for the funding Jefferson gave them, they never would have made it.
Well, no. Columbus was an entrepreneur with a wacky scheme that everyone knew was wrong (remember he was trying to reach the East Indies?) and the naive king and queen of Spain were the only suckers he could find. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christop...
Lewis and Clark (with support from the army) were late comers to the exploration of the west, with self-funded explorers like David Thompson beating them by decades.. and don't forget they *failed* in their expedition - to find a water passage across the continent. If they had died the trail history would not have cared. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_an...
In actual fact, most explorers throughout history have been privately funded.. especially those that actually succeeded. Mining and drilling companies continue to do private exploration today.. an industry that is perfectly described as "expensive, dangerous, and risky". Pushing the frontiers has *always* been done by private enterprise.. not governments.