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Why Doesn’t Anyone Care About the Final Frontier Anymore?

We’ve lost interest in exploring space. Maybe our indifference has a "deep psychological connection with a badly battered grand narrative of progress." The uplifting project of Americanizing the universe portrayed on STAR TREK has been replaced by shows that suggest that our way of life and our planet have no future. But we also have to consider that our transhumanists have turned our techno-visions of the future away from "outer space" to "cyberspace" and "nano-scale robots." I’d like to add maybe we’ve gotten realistic enough to no longer believe that Carl Sagan (CONTACT) baloney that there are kinder smarter ETs out there who can unravel the mystery of Being for us and save us from our screw-up selves. Ever since the psychologically sensitive first MEN IN BLACK, we’ve known that ETs will be at least as screwed up as we are, and probably more dangerous.

Discussions - 15 Comments

Don’t worry. The Chinese space program is going to place our own, or rather the lack thereof, on the front burner.

NASA should have been delivered over to the US Navy decades ago. The whole thing should have been renamed Starfleet Command, a robust and romantic name, for a daring mission. We should have already put a man on Mars. Clinton easily could have redirected sufficient funds for that project, especially when he wasn’t doing much of anything, other than indulging his taste for plump, ripe interns.

The reason people have lost interest is that NASA has figuratively and LITERALLY been going in circles, one more "blast off" designed to do nothing than go round and round, and round. Americans are frankly bored by the sight of teachers {we should remember that we have to include an exclamation point after the word "teacher"} with some dopey look on their face, while they’re floating from lack of G.

We should have already sent a three ship mission to Mars, {three ships for safety, redundancy and evocative of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria}.

This is just another episode of Bush incompetence. This is exactly, EXACTLY the type of thing to help offset liberal criticism.

Remember when Columbia blew up. Sharon and Blair were in the country at the time, if I recall. GW should have seized upon that moment, to fully focus on what NASA’s mission should be.

He should have said then and there, "We’re going to Mars, and this time, we’re taking our best friend with us. I said after the diplomatic debacle surrounding the run up to our movement on Baghdad that the American people would never forget our staunchly our British friends stood by us. I intend to make good on that statement today, for when we go to Mars, one of the three ships we send to Mars will be staffed and commanded by men of the RAF and the Royal Navy," {then he should have paused during his speech, looked over at Blair, [who should NOT have been informed prior to of what Bush intended to say] and kind of nodded to him.

Moreover, he should have looked over at Sharon, who was naturally grief stricken about the loss of Ilan Ramon, and said to him, "Americans mourn with Israel today for the loss of one of the best and bravest, and it isn’t sitting very well with Americans that we took up a citizen of an ally for a trip that became a one-way voyage, thus I promise you today Mr. Prime Minister, that when we go to Mars, an officer of the IAF will go along for that trip too, so that the memory of this tragedy be tempered by the future promise of a voyage to Mars." Sharon too, should not have been informed what was coming.

That’s imagination, that would have captured the spirit of the nation, ESPECIALLY AT THAT TIME, and that’s precisely the lack of imagination that so characterizes the White House and the leadership of the GOP.

Dan wrote: We should have already sent a three ship mission to Mars, {three ships for safety, redundancy and evocative of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria}.

Respectfully I disagree. This isn’t the 60’s anymore ... the prospect of a mission to Mars conjures up none of the "can do" spirit of then. Why not? I think because we’re damn near overwhelmed with what we have right here on earth. Going to Mars won’t achieve anything ... there’s absolutely no chance that we’ll have anything like sustainable colonies on Mars (Hawaii is not a self-sustaining island ... what makes us think Mars can be?).

But then again, I’m so deeply cynical it hurts. Really, I am.

I don’t believe the public really cares all that much for such a mission. Nobody really believes we’ll establish a "colony" there, any more than we’ve been successful establishing a viable orbiting space station. Going there would just be an exercise in saying we did it, but little more.

Second, I think most people view the trials and troubles of this earth and think, "We don’t need to spend the time and money on that. We have more important things to worry about already."

Finally, I think in the back of most people’s minds is the notion of a spacecraft with astronauts in it being disabled far out in space with no chance for rescue. It’s one thing for a shuttle to blow up -- that’s a death everyone can grasp. But simply drifting off into nothingness would leave an odd and disturbing chill in people’s minds. They sense that now, I think. Plus, the feeling of utter helplessness would leave quite a scar. All the more reason, I think, that a mission to Mars is just talk.

We want a REAL mission. Not a gimmick. That was the problem wiht the whole Christa Mcauliffe thing, she was a teacher, and it was all a gimmick.

Such missions entail the conquest of a HOST of technical problems that have a beneficial spillover on the entirety of our aerospace industry, besides other industries. Part of going to Mars, and establishing a base there, is to RETAIN our aerospace/defense technology DOMINANCE.

When General Patton told Eisenhower that he had better cut through the bull, and get on to Berlin. Eisenhower replied "who wants" the city. Patton then responded, "History will inform you of the importance of Berlin...." {that’s a paraphrase, the exact quotes I forgot, but I captured the gist perfectly}. History will speak to the importance for the United States, foremost power on earth, leader of the free world, champion in arms of the free West, history will speak clearly on the importance of us continuing to dominate space.

It’s a matter of national security, as well as a matter of cultural prestige.

And one thing more.

We can make Mars another Earth, atmosphere, foliage, the works. Yes. WE CAN. And that’s NOT technology of the future, that’s not like our fixation on hydrogen based alternatives. No. None of that.

Several years ago, I saw some articles on the subject. It’s doable.

And if we don’t solve the muslim problem soon, we all might be looking for an exit real quick like.

To many of the problems that we’re experiencing here, the solution lies out there.

Given all the things we could be spending money on, a Mars mission would be (far and away) the most noble and civilizationally challenging. I haven’t given up on the "final frontier," but perhaps most whiny-ass Americans have. Anyone got some survey data on how would (and would not) support a Mars mission? I have a sneaking suspicion about the social pattern, but I’d like some hard data.

Perhaps because more important things are happening and need to be attended to: like the third-world invasion of the West.

I’m assuming it’s the same ISP, Professor Moser? Obviously, this is some kind of Democrat "black ops" to suppress the Republican vote.

Remember that one of the first most valuable things we got from space travel was the photo of Earth from space. We’re not going to find anything like Earth and people realize that now. Few people are attracted to the desert; we want the fullness of nature, the water, the green things, the life. I think it finally dawned on most of us just what a desolate and sterile place the rest of the solar system is. Maybe not technically, but more or less. And the planets that may be like us are so far away as to be nonexistent for all practical purposes.

I’m assuming it’s the same ISP, Professor Moser?

You got it. In addition to "Justin" and "John," he/she has also been known to go by "Brian," "Old Republic," and "Unreconstructed."

This may be a perfectly pedestrian observation, but I lost interest in space travel when the astronauts stopped getting out of the ships. When I was a kid, the five words I dreaded most were, "Let’s go for a drive." I don’t like to "drive around" and, what’s worse, I don’t want to watch someone else "drive around." I want to go somewhere and see something when I get there. I was vaguely interested in the Mars rover robot mission, but it was nothing like a person walking around up there would be. When we can do that, you bet I’ll be interested. Beyond that, they should do what they need to do up there for national security--but I’m not going to be very interested in those details unless it doesn’t work!

Perhaps it isn’t space or the benefits of exploration that we have less interest in. Maybe it is NASA.

I view it as an aged bureaucracy no longer capable. The first commentator - they keep going around in circles, mostly repeating the previous - has it about right.

Their science seem more like propaganda and conveniently supports more NASA. I recall that frozen water detected on the moon. Now they announce Mars has plentiful water. A decade back they found artifacts in meteorites dislodged from Mars.

Oh, just now they are concerned and studying whether moon dust will harm our astronauts if we land there again.

I think the latest word is that cracks (fissures) have been detected. And organisms might live down there below the harsh Martian surface. A NASA scientist was said to have spent over two decades looking for this.

Perhaps I got a detail wrong here and there. But NASA nada. I classify their announcements as bull and don’t read them very carefully.

I’d love to see a florishing space program, but I can wait. I’d much rather find a way to enable my children and grandchildren to see the great cathedrals of Europe without minarets on them. I think necessity will dictate our interest in space, just as it did with the Russians.

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