Friday, October 12, 2012

That's why the Space Program must go on!

I'm a big fan of the space program, and forgot to post this old painting I did of Armstrong in 2009.  So here's to you Neil!  A belated remembrance for a pretty amazing guy who passed away this summer. Over the past few evenings I've been watching the "When We Left Earth" series from a few years ago - not as good as "For All Mankind", but a decent, if overly glossy, portrait of NASA, which has got me thinking.  In college my friends and I had a saying coined by Wes Cox: "That's why the Space Program must go on."  Whenever someone would do something innovative or crazy, or innovatively stupid, or ask questions to which there were no answers - why are girls like that? would you die if you jumped off this? etc . . .  The answer was a statement - "Well, that's why the space program must go on."  It was a statement of faith that if we put some smart guys working on it, we could solve anything.  We put a this man on the moon, didn't we?

It's great that we're pursuing unmanned missions to Mars - I mean check out Mars!  But the manned program - even considering the danger and the disasters that happened with the shuttle missions - is a worthwhile endeavor.  People willing to take the risk.  Neil Armstrong was.  At some point, we're going to need someone on Mars, and the cost - compared to military budgets, social security - are tiny and the gained knowledge would do what the Apollo missions did - drive the economy for fifty years!  I'd pay a .5% "space" sales tax.  I'd donate to NASA directly if it was a little easier (to do so now seems very complicated - but I think you can send them a check?).  Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has been making an impassioned plea and I agree with him whole heartedly, and I think we need to stop thinking of space as something frivolous.  Have smart people figure out incredibly tough problems - and the innovation will flow like Tang!

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