Monday, May 26, 2008

Are we there yet?

Bad Astronomy writes:

Think on this, and think on it carefully: you are seeing a manmade object falling gracefully and with intent to the surface of an alien world, as seen by another manmade object already circling that world, both of them acting robotically, and both of them hundreds of million of kilometers away.

Never, ever forget: we did this. This is what we can do.

Many years ago, I watched Columbia go up in flames. I was home sick from work that day and had turned on the tv, ... I sat and wept. Crying for the loss, and fearful that the dirthuggers might use this to quash humanity's best hope for survival.

Looking at this image, I am in tears again, in hope that maybe, just maybe, we can find something that will spur on even the dirthuggers to renewed effort. That maybe, this will remind us that we, humankind, might have an option besides scratching the dirt forever until we blow ourselves up or destroy our home planet's ability to sustain life. In awe of the potential, if we only let ourselves *try*!

And the child inside me gazes up at the stars and whispers, "Are we there yet?"

1 comment:

Alex said...

Sorry to be a downer, but -- I think we lack a Delos Harriman... the engineers are great, sure, but, unless we can engage greed in support of the space enterprise, I fear there will not be enough sustained funding.

Superpowers' "prestige races" may give us nudges, as the USA/URSS one did in the '60s and a USA/China one might next decade, but I don't think that's sustainable in the face of growing bureaucracies, budget issues, &c: we need the profit motive, robber barons, feisty startups, and so on, to drive us all the way there...