Sunday, July 17, 2005

Once again, the battle over man in space is being waged.
The Space Shuttle launch has been delayed for technical reasons, the main one being that they are the spaceship equivalents of a 47 Chevy - still useable, but outdated. Contrast this to the Mars rovers and Hubble telescope, which are sending us amazing pictures and data.
Why should men go into space anymore? Why send men instead of probes?
Answer - you shouldn't. If all you want is pictures.
Here are a few reasons you may not have thought of.
1) It's dangerous, and we like danger. How many people bungee jump? How many watch car races for the crashes? We WANT to do dangerous things, and survive. If we don't have something useful to do that's dangerous, we invent useless dangerous pastimes. Space travel is the greatest thrill ride of them all, and potentially the most valuable. We need to go.
2) It has great ego value. Every nation wants to compete, to show their worth to every other. Most of the time, they have used armies. But in the Age of Discovery, they competed by sponsoring exploration in Africa and America. With no new frontiers, we are going back to fighting. Why not channel that competition into the Final Frontier?
Humans need space travel - for economic reasons, scientific reasons, and for psychological reasons. Let's go.

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