Machine as hero

10/04/2010

So Obama cancelled the Constellation program apparently and there’s no going to the moon in 2020 for NASA.  That utterly utterly SUXXXXXORS!!!!  It’s great if there’s some anger about this decision.  It seems the opposite of hope really, though cancelling something is “change” I suppose.  However, I’m angry about some of the things that have been said against robots.

Stephen Colbert interviewed Neil deGrasse Tyson on 8th April 2010 (f you don’t know how to watch that watch this or use google and sort your own life out)  The two COMPLETELY BRILLIANT people both of whom I love express surprise that Obama would do such a thing after  He said “We will restore science to its rightful place”  in his inaugural address.  However, there are those in the space science community who have been saying for years that putting people into space is not really science.  That the science is done better by robots.  For these people, putting science at the heart of NASA would mean ditching the space penises and their jock pilots so that we can get on with the geology.  No, I’m not referencing or linking to anyone.

So Obama could have been sending a coded message that peopled space flight was not real science.  Well, he didn’t really.  The other half of that sentence is about healthcare, and at the time I assumed he was referring to things like climate change and evolution.  Searching just now I couldn’t find any reference to the words “space” “moon” or “NASA” in the speech.  What does it matter?  There’s more to space exploration than geology.

There are those who say that NASA should also be providing us with what we want.  These people wanted the FACE ON MARS investigated.  “We’re” paying for it, make it fun for us.  Exploration isn’t just about finding interesting science, it’s about finding amazing places and views.  No, I’m not referencing or linking to anyone.

Neil deGrasse Tyson said that we need astronauts to be the inspiration for the future.  That they’re the heros that we looked up to when we were little and are the reason we’re interested in space in the first place.  That no-one can idolise or be inspired by a robot.  Well I bloody was.

I was inspired by Viking Landers.  I was too little to really remember the last Apollo missions.  I sort of remember the Apollo-Soyuz meeting up in space over Cadburys hot chocolate.  Landing on Mars!!! With pictures?!?  I mean, MARS!!!! THE ACTUAL MARS!!!!! I also loved Vikings, so I guess it was a double bonus.

I was in the middle of this post when I RPS alerted me that Warren Ellis has writted this.  He say that spaceflight is clearly vital yep and yep.  Eggs, baskets.  “The dinosaurs died because they did not have a space program” (no idea who said that first oh it turns out someone mentions it in the comments and attributes it to Larry Niven.  It should be a trite statement hongu).  People seem to think that the money spent on space programs is put into a rocket and fired at the sun.  That somehow shuttle launches are fuelled using equal weights of dead HIV children and the tears of baby seals.  Actually the money gets given to real people who spend it on food, rent, cinema tickets, phonecalls, and the tears of baby seals.  So fur-Q if that’s your argument.

I am passionate about people going into space, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to slag off robots.  They’re a companion species.  We do things they can’t, they do things we can’t.  They’re like dogs.  I was inspired by K9 an’all.  I like robots, but that doesn’t mean I want to fuck all of them.  You might think that’s the sort of over the top rant I say all the time, but apparently:

“The only people clamouring for space launches to Mars to recover the wandering robot skateboard currently stuck in a sandtrap there are, well, the people who want to make it their android whore.”

I can only assume he wants to be fucked by a Saturn 5.  Maybe he wants Buzz to come back avec his soapy fish? I’d have thought that if anyone wanted to bring them back it’d be to put them in the Smithsonian.  Don’t think we should though.  We should leave them right where they are, with a view to putting a plaque next to them.  We should be planning to build the visitors’ centre and the gift shop.  (Skateboard though – really?  Sigh.  I suppose that makes Warren Ellis is a lemur who writes shopping lists then).

clip from XKCD comic

How can you not be inspired by the tenacity of Spirit and Oppotunity? And gods peed the Mariners, Pioneers, and Voyagers.  So far from home.  Our brave metallic explorers.

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