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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

a Space Odessey

updated: 2•23•2017
This article is what I was talking about with engineers not wanting to come here 

It's been 35 years of ridicule from unimaginative people who tell us dreamers and thinkers, speculators and fans of science fiction to get our heads out of the clouds, keep our feet on Earth. Simultaneously, it's been a 35 year fight to advance environmental protections, trying to educate those who were rooted in what they would call, "the Practical" and still move forward. Until the cell phone came along, none of the "living in the future" we "impractical" and "useless dreamers" were accused of embraced. But once those flip phones came out, then progressed to the iphone and androids, suddenly there was something to the "stupidly impossible" things that they saw in Trek and other Sci-fi shows. And the the designers came out and all said it was Kirk's communications device that made those cell phones possible because it was an idea to work toward.

It went from something cool to something that could be really useful. And then it became an addicting necessity. And now, all of the sci-fi haters are on board with the space tech. They still are not all that excited about space exploration. In fact, there are still arguments about dismantling NASA. We still argue about what to do with the shuttle program. W wanted us to go back. Obama tried to fund the shuttle program, embarrassed that we were depending on other countries to get out astronauts to the ISS. But it didn't matter to the GOP.

 Once we got to the moon, the United States Congress started the attacks on NASA. The Challenger and Columbia accidents, which in my opinion, were a direct result of budgetary cuts that were instigated by the Conservative GOP to redirect funds into the Military to expand a war machine, and away from Space Exploration because the benefits to corporate interests were smaller from space, only solidified their position. And with the less than enthusiastic, non science fiction crowds in the constituency, the death of those astronauts was enough reason to try and dismantle NASA. And all of the bullies who hated Trekkies and our penchant for inclusion and exploration joined the GOP in the bullying. Even NASA's Space, Here's What's in it for You campaign did nothing to stem the tide of anti-Space exploration. It's been a battle in family arguments, in papers and among antagonistic pundits for decades. Then suddenly it's all different again.

Three days ago the GOP told NASA to get into Space cause "That's what you are there for." And my inner Dr. McCoy popped up with a very skeptical eyebrow and one antagonistic question, "What's their angle?" How does a political party with tight hold on the purse strings of a US agency completely turn around its position seemingly overnight?

The devastating plans the GOP under the new Orangeparty to dismantle Environmental protections, safety, wipe out wildlife and sell of the national park lands would seem to be a clue. Those in my circle have been asking his supporters what water they are going to drink when these pipelines fail as they have at alarming rates over the last decade. Bottled water. When Nestle takes it all what will you drink. Bottled water. Where are you going to fish and hunt when the water is polluted and the lands belong to corporations? Where will you swim when Line 5 finally gives out at the Straits? What will you eat when they have killed small farms and independent growers? We eat from the grocery store. And when you eat a contaminated drumstick of unregulated Chinese chicken and your brain stops tickin? No answer.

Until today.
NASA just announced the discovery of a new set of 7 planets orbiting a dim sun called Trappist 1 a mere 40 light years from Earth. Now it makes sense to me why the GOP has mandated NASA get busy with getting us into outer space. Once they've burned out the resources, killed all the species that they don't value beyond the status of being mounted on a wall, reduced our population in number and worth, to the point where the is no reason to stay there is theTrappist system to exploit.

I have so many more questions than this scenario explains.

For instance: you've devalued and defunded NASA, underfunded science & math education and cut the program to its most skeletal of abilities, how the bloody hell do you think that the current set of employees is going to make up for the stagnation of the last 35 years? And who do you think is going to man those desks as senior staffers retire over the next few decades? We are behind the rest of the world. We were the number one in Space exploration, a position that we should never have given up, not for pride or status but for the practicality of realizing that it is harder to climb back to the top than it is to maintain that position. It's a disgrace. And now NASA must catch up to the rest of the world and make the attempt to get to a new solar system. No, they haven't said it yet. But how thick do you have to be not to put the pieces together to see where this was going?

Where do you think you are going to get a jump start on this program with out the Indian and Asian mathematicians? The Indian Space program has been making exceptional strides. But will they come with the anti-immigration attitude here in the States? The radically under-educated supporters of this administration don't stop to think that there are more brown-skinned people than the ones they are afraid of. How would they be welcomed? How will their children live in this climate.

In so many ways the GOP is shooting itself in the foot. I have no doubt they will get to the Trappist system but it will be the hardest, most expensive and convoluted path to getting there. And, if most speculative fiction can prove to be prophetic, Trappist 1 will only be for the rich and the famous. They will forget the service people initially then find some slummy place on a foreign planet to put the work force. And that work force will have no rights of their own. Settling a new planet won't have the same historic sense that maintaining America has. American founders had a vision and the Constitution outlines what can and can not be done be the government. America has a patriotism that comes from a hard fought, hard won history. A new planet will not. A new planet will be colonized and constitutionally supported by those who get there first.

Once the Space Laws have been rewritten.

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