February 01, 2003

Well, we've now had our

Well, we've now had our second shuttle explosion. As I think about it, it was inevitable: they had run over a hundred missions, and the law of large numbers came up and bit them. We can only hope that this will cause a full review of procedures and such, to lower the chances of this ever happening again; that's one of two possible outcomes. The other is that the space program is essentially cancelled, or at least left to be completely underfunded (even moreso than it already is), which would amount to the same thing.

I'm actually really encouraged by Bush's little speech this afternoon. It was an excellent speech, and it made me confident that whatever else is on his scary agenda, cutting the space program is not his plan. Indeed, I got the impression that he intends to fund it even more. Perhaps he's young enough to have caught the idealistic man-reaching-for-the-stars bug that swept the youth of the nation during the 60s space race. The older generation of that time saw the space program as a lot of things---a tool, a race, a battle---but growing up with space travel as an achievable reality engenders a completely different view towards the space program, I think.

And if we use this to prod us into beefing up NASA, developing a next-generation shuttle, returning to the moon and reaching for Mars, well, then at least we can find a silver lining in the tragedy.

"Look -- Switzerland has twice as many guns as we do; Japan is far more of a pressure cooker; and Northern Ireland has been fighting a low-level civil war for the past 50 years. All of them have lower rates of homicide than the US. At some point, there's got to be a cultural difference." --Michael Kimmitt Posted by blahedo at 5:26pm on 1 Feb 2003

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