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« They pull me back in | Main | Say Everything »

Jul 19, 2009

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justcorbly

Spaceflight, especially human spaceflight, usually gets short shrift in the political circles in which I usually travel. Most think the money would be better spent on more "human" activities. A few, those who bother to think about it, think space exploration is solely about doing science, and so we should just send little machines.

However, it seems to me that the beginning of human space exploration was one of the very few wholely postieve events of the entire bloodfest that was the 20th century.

Space travel is about technology, not science. Yes, science will be done in space, preferably by flesh-and-blood scientists. But, humans are creatures of technology. We shape our technology and, in turn, we are shaped by it. We would not hav survived as a species had we not developed the rudimentary tools need to hunt and to pride protection. Today, our survival depends on our ability to use our tools to positive ends and avoiding using them to blow ourselves up or to poison are air and our water.

The exploration and exploitation is as natural and as inevitable as our specie's migration from the savannahs of Africa across the planet. I don't know how it will be supported, but I suspect that profit will be found, as usual, in proven technology that someone else paid for. Today, that means, just barely, getting things to low-Earth orbit. It does not yet mean that themarket can make money putting people in orbit, but it will.

I know exactly where I was on July 20, 1969. What happened on that day ranks as the single most important event of my lifetime. It seems to me that all the other events others might nominate simply amount to the avoidance of suffering brought on by our anger and bad judgement.

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