POSTING BY: BIG ANGRY
2011 will be known for many things, not the least of which is America saying goodbye to its space program. It’s swan song was treated by the American public similar to World Cup soccer: a momentary collective cheer only to quickly lose interest leading our lessening attention spans back to playing Angry Birds. Personally, I’m saddened by the death of the space program. However, I can also see why it was ceased. When it came to visible progress from NASA, there was more feet dragging than your typical zombie flick. To quote Dan Ackroyd in Ghostbusters, “You’ve never worked in the private sector. They expect results.”
First off, let me get to why I’m saddened by the death of the space program. To me, it demonstrates America’s decline as a super power. Also, it’s a symbol of our continual lack of imagination and desire to explore anything further than why Steven Tyler is or isn’t good for American Idol. Let’s face it kiddos, there are only so many resources that Mother Earth is gonna give us. Yes, we’re looking at several years into the future, and space travel is a long, expensive commitment to make. However, without it, when this planet chooses to give us the old heave-ho, we may be left with our thumbs up our collective asses (which for those of you with freakishly large thumbs…ouch).
Ok, now onto counterpoint; the reason the space program needed to be shelved. 50 plus years ago, the space program had a clear objective. It had competition (Russia) and a goal to be the first and best at what it did. Fast forward and what we have now is basically an over-priced UPS/public transportation for the International Space Station. Remember back in the early 90’s when you would read about future shuttles no longer needing boosters? What happened to that? Let’s face it, NASA caused their own demise by over thinking and under producing results. We can send a man to the moon in 1969 and, yet, 40 years later we haven’t reached any further. Jesus, in the past 15 years cell phones have gone from something the size of a shoebox and have evolved into not only making calls, but streaming movies, taking pictures, accessing the Internet, and so on. Is NASA too afraid of the face on Mars to send people there? Is there something they aren’t telling us? Has the Weekly World News been right all this time?
Also, before you go on some diatribe about how dangerous space travel is, I know, I know. However, progress isn’t made without risk. The men and women who have put their lives at risk, not to mention those poor souls who have lost theirs to the cause, are to be commended to the highest degree. You can’t tell me that we shouldn’t have been making longer distance “trial” flights by now. No, the ball was dropped and the only thing we’ve been provided with in past several years, the mars rovers not withstanding (which got us nowhere by the way), is some asshole telling us that Pluto is no longer a planet and Bill Nye the Science guy trying to get us to pronounce Uranus so it doesn’t sound like some sophomoric joke (i.e. Your-ah-ness). Just for the record, Big Angry loves sophomoric humor.
Being the eternal optimist, I’d like to think that America hasn’t totally turned it’s back on space. Let’s face it, what we need is some tangible goal to reinvigorate our passion with space travel. That, and a boatload of cash. With our struggling economy, that seems nearly impossible. Yet, I say there is a way: sponsors. Let’s face it, NASCAR will whore itself out so that there isn’t one square inch of car that doesn’t have some sort of advertisement. Just think how cool it would be to have a shuttle launched with a “Star Wars 3D” paint scheme. Or better yet, paint that main fuel tank like a big ass Bud Lite bottle. Set up conversations via Skype with an astronaut with some no name behind him/her intermittently putting a ball cap with a commercial logo on said astronaut’s noggin.
Given that, space travel has never seemed so plausible…or refreshing. Just like an ice-cold mountain brewed Coors.