Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Space: Who Cares?

Well, NASA has scrubbed the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery due to technical problems. Naturally, the cable news outlets and then the media in general is sobbing at this great delay of the return to space of the United States. Amid all of this wailing and gnashing of teeth, I must interject, "I really, really, really couldn't care less."

Why do we indeed still have a space program. Always seemed to me to be a remnant of the Cold War, a new battlefield where the US and the USSR could fight it out for supremacy and the right to spend the other into submission. NASA always struck me as a high tech, low purpose propaganda arm of the US military that could be pulled out and showcased when it seemed that the commies were getting ahead. I somewhat figured that in the aftermath of the Cold War (the years roughly between 1991 and the present), that this would go the way of Civil Defense, bomb shelters and Yakov Smirnov.

Again, I was sadly mistaken. President Bush, in his never ending conquest against the enemies of America, has decided that the best way to rally American morale is to...spend more money for an undiscernable purpose and on a "gee-whiz" public show of American firepower. Well, the war ain't getting him anywhere, so what the heck...let's try space again.

Not to mention the bad track record that NASA has for safety. Bernard McGuirk, producer for the Imus in the Morning radio show, called boarding the Space Shuttle "like getting into a car with Billy Joel." This is both funny and strangely accurate, seeing that astronauts are really taking their lives into their hands with failing guidance systems and almost thirty year old technology.

What is it exactly that NASA has done for us lately? What did they EVER do? Oh, right, the telecommunications satellites. Except those were developed by private companies who rented NASA like a taxi to get into space. So NASA participated in some part in that development. That and Tang is about it.

What else? Where are the moon colonies? Where are the people living on space stations in peace, harmony and matching jumpsuits? Where are the "great benefits" of space exploration?

Nowhere and this fact goes to show that the government is more about intimidation and fear than helping the citizenry. From the beginning, the US government has had the notion of supporting the sciences for the betterment of humankind (nice little Enlightenment idea, no?) This cannot be classified as remotely near that. The US space program is a flagrant and sickening waste of taxpayer dollars that could be spent to solve real problems.

Real problems? Just looking at science, how 'bout cancer, AIDS, childhood diseases, mental illness, addiction, heart disease and on and on? No, that would show that they even care about people and the real problems that plague their lives.

Gee-whizzery, spacemen, scaring the world and spending out of control...that's NASA to me.

And all that talk about "breaking the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of god?" Part of the propaganda package. Just bluff space jockey talk desiged to make heroes of the dupes that are involved in this massive and dangerous waste.

After it is the U.S. government. Par for the course.

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