Today is the 38th anniversary of the American landing on the moon. It is a good day to reflect on the appalling failure of the American space program to build on its successes—or even just to hang on to them. We couldn’t go to the moon today even if we wanted to. To make it possible for us to go to the moon again would require an immense and expensive undertaking, because we have completely lost the chance to build on the immense and expensive undertaking that got us there last time. In fact, President Bush laid out a vision for NASA in 2004 that included plans to return to the moon, and last year NASA announced these plans could come to fruition…by 2020, at a cost of over $100 billion. It is hard to imagine any other example of such technological backsliding.