So, many enviros are familiar with The New Apollo Project, based on Prez Kennedy’s original Apollo moon missions but instead aiming to harness that good ol’ ‘Merican ingenuity and know-how to jumpstart a massive clean-energy program in the U.S. while simultaneously creating a whole slew of new jobs. Good idea? Sure it is. But like most good ideas in the U.S., it’s going exactly nowhere in the halls of government.

But now, sensing the public’s urgent, even palpable need for space travel (oh, it’s there!), the ever with-it Bush admin has a plan that takes the new Apollo Project in an entirely different direction: to the moon. That’s right, they’ve got a plan to go retro and couple that fabled American ingenuity with high-tech spending to boldly go where, uh … we’ve already been. But hey, the moon worked for Kennedy, right, so why couldn’t it be a rallying point more than 40 years later? (We’re in the middle of a curiously similar war, after all, and maybe that’s all the reason anyone needs.) Of course, some might be quick to mock the administration, saying they’re just trying to divert attention away from other issues. But what could they possibly want to distract attention away from? I really have no idea.

Seriously though, this is great. Given the massive budget trauma in the wake of Katrina and, um, the enormously expensive and still ongoing occupation of Iraq (donation, please?), and, uh, that stuff in Afghanistan, and all those tax breaks (am I missing anything?) — amid the shifting of funds away from NASA and the likely cut of about 600 NASA employees from their Washington headquarters, nevermind the fact that the agency still can’t clear the stratosphere without its shuttle falling apart — I think a big ol’ Space Odyssey 2005 is exactly what this country needs. Or at least a big ol’ press conference about it.

Ooh, the moon!