Sunday, September 25, 2005

Living on Past PR 

America's NASA has become addicted to its past glories and unable to adjust to the present. It forgets that the first journey to the moon was a giant PR exercise (perhaps of the wrong kind) to show the Soviet Union that the US is dominant in space. Long after establishing that dominance, NASA still yearns to return to the moon, a hostile place by any standard, when machines can do nearly all of the work safely.

NASA has been blinded by its press clippings. That's sad. Outer space is not like exploration in the time of Columbus. The universe beyond earth is truly hostile to carbon-based life, and we have yet to find compelling economic or other reasons for placing feet on extraterrestrial surfaces. The idea of colonizing the moon moves further from reality the more we know about the moon. It's like colonizing Antarctica. You don't see many people wintering over at the South Pole. PR can be a trap, as we know, but sometimes, it is a trap we don't know we're in.


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