Well. A coupla interesting things.
its a bit depressing – on the face of it – that Obama has cancelled Constellation – the open-ended project stream that would have resulted at some point with men on Mars, but reading between the lines, it’s not so bad. There will be a move more to privatised companies doing the lift bit into space and supposedly a move to find more efficient means of getting to Mars (propulsion-wise). I do find the tone of the speech(?) or document by the Mars Director a little false though and I am not sure how many of their employees will buy into the ‘mood’.
What worried me most is that, as some commentators have pointed out, for many of us, a part of our hope in life is carried by NASA projects. This may be dubious in that NASA was founded on a combination of aeronautics reseach in the USA and Nazi scientists at the end of WWII but at least casting your eyes upwards to the stars provides some kind of common frontier – a reason to ‘collaborate’ rather than fight.
Without this we are in danger of becoming a species ‘looking inwards’ and this introversion, I think, seems to correspond with periods of increased conflict.
Evidence: Challenger Disaster 1986 Columbia disaster 2003: 2 Iraq Wars and by contrast, the number of people around the world who felt a sense of ‘belonging’ on the day Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. Of course nobody knows for sure if there is a correlation but I put it out there as a subject for discussion.
This also cheered me up;