News and Commentary on Space
Belligerent Bunny’s Bad Movie Shrine (BMS) reviews a science fiction film (sort of) that features manned missions to the moon, terraforming, and space tourism, all while making a mockery of space science as the end-all-be-all of space exploration.
(Warning: may not be work-safe.)
Neil deGrasse Tyson shares his views on the Moon-Mars plan.
Overall, his views seem to represent a sensible cross-section of the space community’s interests. He’s for manned and robotic missions, he wants to go to the Moon and Mars, he expects that the new NASA vision can be carried out on a reasonable budget, he quite handily defends spending money on space, and explains the purpose and goals of the new policy in a clear, articulate, approachable way.
He also tosses out an amusing — and intriguing — idea for how to keep the public interested:
The astronaut corps that is slated to go to Mars could be selected as teenagers, then 10 years out they’ll be the right age for landing on Mars.
I can guarantee you those teenagers would be written about in every teen magazine that’s out there. They’ll be heroes in the same way the Mercury seven were heroes to their generation. They’re going to supplant rock stars as who are the coolest people to be in society.
And now we have women astronauts, and astronauts of color, something that was unthinkable in the sixties. So there’s a previously disenfranchised subset of Americans who will want to become scientists and engineers.
It seems absurd or at least astonishing at first glance, but on reflection, he certainly has a point…just consider the possibilities of a “Lunar Idol” nationwide astronaut-candidate competition. I don’t know if interest could be sustained on this basis for ten years, as he suggests, but it could certainly work for 3-4 years.
He also has promising things to say about space commercialization (even though the question was phrased in a nutty way):
I like to take a broader view. Early pilot-engineers, who invented or designed their own airplanes, were supported by the government in the form of a guaranteed load of airmail. That enabled these people to be more and more innovative, to be more competitive to try and get the government contract. What emerged from this were airplanes that no longer required the government support because they could then fly paying passengers.
In developing all the technology necessary to go to Mars, stuff is going to get invented. Look at the government investment in the Global Positioning System (GPS). It was initially a military utility, but now there are commercial GPS receivers in cars and even in wristwatches.
These are whole industries that have been spawned and given unto private enterprise to then make money and create jobs.
If it means we can one day get into space so cheaply that you can set up a hotel, fine, let it be so. If it’s a hotel with a zero-g theme park, fine. Business will go wherever it thinks it can make a buck. Right now space is kind of expensive, so only governments can do it.
Note that that last sentence doesn’t say that space has to be expensive, just that it currently is.
Interesting. I can see why this guy was picked for the Commission.
A young girl sets out to prove herself by resolving a long-forgotten mystery. But when she gets close to the truth, what she thought was a harmless adventure becomes a threat to the future of the independent commercial settlements on Mars.