The Future of Inspiration
We are coming to a sad end in our NASA manned space program. There are only 3 shuttle launches left – 5/14, 7/29 and 9/16 – and American astronauts will NO LONGER being going into space aboard an American spacecraft. We will be flying on a Russian vehicle and paying them $50 million (or more) per person to do so. We will be TOTALLY dependent on the Russians to get to the space station.
Now I suppose, sometime in the future something will be built, but at present there are no replacement vehicles in the pipeline. We will still be launching the explorer vehicles to the planets – we’ll be seeing Pluto in the next few years – and the Hubble telescope will still be astounding us with images – thank God that the public outcry to fix/update the telescope was listened to. Congress/the government was simply going to let one of the greatest achievements in the history of the world to go silent. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been the same outcry about the Shuttle debacle. And, realistically, building/designing/commissioning a new vehicle happens slowly. There must be a vision and NASA has been in a battle budget between robot-centric folks and the manned-mission ones forever. Well, we need the robots – they go to the outer planets and can work for years. And we need the astronauts – they inspire.
I realize that many people say, “We should be spending the money down here on Earth.” Well, I ask you, “who are we paying to build the rockets, do the science, and even janitors who clean the buildings, etc. etc.” We are spending the money on Earth. We pay people, not aliens.
In 196o when we realized John F. Kennedy’s dream of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” the goal was a political one run by white males. In 2010, the “white male only rule” is no longer true. Minorities are a working part of that environment. We want to diminish that opportunity?
Yes, NASA is still in business, but when they have to rely on a foreign power to transport our astronauts, when they have to kill the “return to the Moon” project, when they are told to “help Toyota figure out their car problems”… what’s going on here?
And what does this have to do with photography? Inspiration. (Moon©2009RichardJGreen. All Rights Reserved. Taken with a Canon 20D attached to a Celestron 8 inch telescope.)