Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Space Shuttle: Business Travel Ad Absurdum

Two visions of space exploration. Top: The basic technology driving the Space Shuttle. Bottom: The star Mira, streaking across the galaxy with a tail 3 trillion miles long.

There are two interesting stories about the space program in this morning's news. One is about the Space Shuttle, already damaged, moored at that ludicrous levitating lean-to, the Space Station, which barely clings to orbit a mere 210 miles above the Earth. (That's the distance between New York and Boston).

How many times are we supposed to be awestruck by, "Oh look! My wrench is floating!"

There is a "teacher" on board. Actually, she's an astronaut, propagandizing for NASA's space shuttle program. Her most profound message so far to the kiddies assembled below:

"Never, ever give up."

(Actually, I would resent anyone teaching my child that ridiculously extreme proposition. In fact, as any field general or football coach will attest, there are times, usually in face of a hopeless massacre, to just give up so nobody else gets hurt.)

And then there is this story today about the majesty of real space exploration, via the Galaxy Evolution Explorer Spacecraft.

Guess which program gets all the money and classroom exposure?


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