DATE: 1/15/2004 07:53:00 AM
Lileks - On space exploration:
Watching 'Marooned,' I saw all the usual scenes from the moon-shot era - grim men studying telemetry in antiquated control rooms, low-tech spacecraft control interfaces, stock footage of the rockets thundering up. I realized again that depictions of NASA's Golden Age gave me an ambivalent set of emotions - pride in what these people had done, and shame that it had stalled and wandered. 'From Earth to the Moon,' 'The Right Stuff,' 'Apollo 13,' and others - as much as I enjoyed them, they made me sad and pissed. We should have kept going. We didn't.As Lileks said in his article, space was once nonpartisan. Kennedy started the program, Nixon saw it to completion. Today's body politic, though, is quite different. Instead of a national rallying around the goal, we have people carping about the price, about the national deficit and how our kids are going to have to pay for this program. What these naysayers ignore is that it's been a long time since America had a goal, and having such a goal can rally a populace, or motivate an economy. Think of how the nation mourned when shuttles fell, then consider how they'll celebrate when a flag rises on a distant red planet.