I have been reading a book (Cauldron by J. McDevitt) and I think I have to stop. The problem is that he is making an obvious analogy with today’s lack of interest in Space Exploration.
It has caused me to wonder why we as a people aren’t interested in Space anymore. I mean really, why does no one give a shit about exploring the stars. And I think I have it figured out. Stay with me for a moment.
Kennedy basically kicked off the Space Race in 1960, and we put a man on the moon in 1969. I was one year old when he announced it. Anyone over about 12 realized that it wasn’t for science or exploration. It was a direct response to the Soviet Space Launches.
We got there in 1969, and for anyone younger than about 8 years old, it was no big deal. I mean, for Ed (and for Barack Obama) the moon landing – a World Changing Event for me – is simply history. It is like going to the South Pole. No big deal. For people over about 18, we won the race – deal done. You don’t keep racing once you won. Besides, they had bigger and scarier fish to fry (like being drafted).
So there is this tiny sliver of people for whom the Moon Landing was the START. It was the OPENING of Space for us. Those of us in that sliver have never really understood why we stopped caring.
Let me say that understanding is, for me, really really really sad. I fear that we have become a uninspired, unimaginative group of consumers who are losing our civilization. If it can’t be weaponised or corrupted in order to make a profit from it – we aren’t interested. Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with making a profit – but there was a time I really thought there was more to life than money. I felt that as a people we were interested in evolving into something wonderful and beautiful. But, as a civilization, we said there really isn’t more important. That’s kind of sad.
NASA’s Budget: $17.9 Billion
Vetern’s Benefits Budget: $53 Billion
Federal Education Budget: $70 Billion
Defense Department’s Budget $515.9 Billion (85%+ going to corporations for hardware)
TARP Funds: $700 Billion