"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Going to Mars - now's the time!

Humans To Mars.org
If you're like me, one major reason you voted for Obama was his modern, enlightened understanding of the value of scientific research and exploration. Now, if he throws away the initiative in space science, and especially Mars exploration, he's seriously falling down on the job in that department and needs to hear from us. There are several problems here, but basically the Augustine Commission did a really, really, bad job of evaluating the situation and making recommendations to Obama. And from what I've heard, his chief science advisor is a Club of Rome adherent, meaning that he's incapable of visionary planning.

I wrote a lot more here, but just cut it out because I'm either speaking to the converted or trying to talk someone without ears. What I know is this: when we look around at the big, glorious universe and dream just a little about the possibilities of what humans might do to justify their silly brains and knack for technology, I see that by trying new things we always (well, almost always - pretty good odds in these dangerous times!) end up better off, in ways we never imagine at the beginning of the quest. But you have to be able to  see why it's better to change, grow, and create new possibilities, than to stay the same, get worse, and fall apart.

If there is a better "stimulus to growth package" out there than a mission to get humans to Mars, I haven't heard of it. We could mount a Mars expedition now (and we do have the technology to do it) for one third of what we gave to AIG in just one afternoon last year. A tragedy. So if you're up to it, just click on the link, above, to sign, and tell Obama he has your support for a more positive approach to space program planning.

PS here's a really good long interview with Robert Zubrin that critiques the Augustine Commission work and recommendations (which are behind Obama's bad decision) and gives a good background on the economics and development options for Mars and space exploration.
http://archive.thespaceshow.com/shows/1252-BWB-2009-11-06.mp3 
Zubrin has a genius for making clear just how engineers make things work, and brings that perspective to the bureaucratically-structured Augustine Commission recommendations (which seem to come down to: keep funding jobs, spend more than you need to spend, to do pointless things, and above all don't try to actually go anywhere). If Obama follows the Augustine Commission's ass-backwards recommendations, "We are stepping to the sidelines of history" (Zubrin, in the interview). A pretty sorry ending to a glorious start, and surely one of the greatest missed opportunities in history. Just one more really big thing to add to a long list of really big things we'll be harshly judged for someday.

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