Short answer: yes…no, wait: hell, yes!
Long answer: well, that’s a question that a recent Space Review article purports to answer…for what it’s worth, I agree with the article’s premise; the problem with recent space films such as Gravity, Elysium and (back in 2008) Wall-E was that either – at best – space was a needless distraction from the problems here on Earth or – worse – that space was a waste of money and resources.
The problem with these arguments is multi-fold in nature…for instance, just think of all the things around us that had – in some manner of speaking – their genesis in space exploration and human spaceflight. Case in point: telecommunications; without those great, grand communications satellites circling in geostationary orbit, good luck finding out what happens on the other side of the world. How about those new solar panels that seem to be popping up everywhere; a good chunk of the technology base that’s made them more-and-more inexpensive came from their usage in space as a ready-made source of energy generation. Just imagine what we could do if we could tap all that solar energy in space and send it down here to Earth, for example…and then tell me space travel’s not worth it.
Of course, there’s also the pioneer spirit inborn in all of us; that sense that’s been a part of the human psyche ever since the first cavemen left the shelter and safety of the caves and began wandering the earth…try to imagine what they thought whenever they looked up at the stars and first thought to themselves, What’s up there? It’s that same exploratory spirit that’s propelled man onwards throughout the ages, the same spirit of wonder and surprise that’s spurred man to travel to distant lands in search of many things – some good, some not-so-good – but the same overarching spirit is there, nonetheless.
Finally, there’s a simple, incalculable thought that should permeate all of us…all of us who believe in space exploration and who support human spaceflight and its’ that while humans are creatures of this earth, like every creature that’s born, there comes a time when we must leave the safety of that proverbial cave and explore the multitudes around us. Does this mean we ignore the problems around us? No, not for a moment…but it also doesn’t mean that we shrink back and say its’ not worth it; to do that would be to say to the Yuri Gagarins’ and Ed Whites’ of the world that their collective sacrifices weren’t worth it..and what would it say to future generations if they were to ask why we didn’t take the opportunity, the chance, to explore the universe around us…those are questions that we shouldn’t ask, because man in an exploratory creature by his very nature and habit and we should always remember the prophetic words of Konstantin Tsilokovsky, who once said…
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.
Most of the time, I normally wouldn’t give a conservative site such as American Thinker the time of day but once in a while they publish something that I agree with…case in point: a recent article over entitled Faith & Science. For what it’s worth, I’ve always wondered why religion and science are constantly at odds with one another; after all, don’t they both seek to answer the basic questions about humanity’s origins, albeit from different perspectives?
Given that the House has yet to pass any kind of meaningful legislation, at least we know where their screwed-up priorities are at for the moment…
After a relatively quiet year on the energy and environment front, House Republicans are again revving up attacks on President Obama’s policies for energy development, this time with a pair of bills that would chip away at the administration’s authority over oil and gas production on federal lands.
Much of the debate scheduled for the House floor Wednesday will focus on legislation sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, to block the Interior Department from regulating fracking on public lands where state regulations are already on the books.
Ahead of Wednesday’s debate, supporters of the measure framed it as an attempt to ward off a regulatory regime that would prove harmful to the domestic oil and gas boom.
“We have a shale-energy revolution in this country and the federal government shouldn’t be doing anything to jeopardize that,” Flores told National Journal Daily. “This bill would put the power to regulate back into the hands of the people who do it best—the states.”
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., similarly painted the legislation as an attempt to block the administration from slowing oil and natural-gas production.
“Imposing a ‘one-size-fits-all’ federal regulation on hydraulic fracturing would add costly and duplicative layers of red tape that would only stand in the way of increased American energy production,” Hastings said.
The legislation is expected to pass but is not likely to win many Democratic votes. “I will not be supporting this bill,” Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., commented ahead of the vote. “The Obama administration has proposed reasonable regulations for hydraulic fracturing, and they should be allowed to go forward.”(National Journal)
I’m of two minds here. On the one hand, Democrats are dead-to-rights correct in criticizing Republicans on taking this up when there are other substantive things that they could be doing. On the other hand, there needs to be a clear balance between protecting the environment and providing for affordable, safe energy resources for Americans.
Question: Prior to October 2013, when was the last time the United States produced more oil for domestic usage than it had to import in?
If you answered 1995, congratulations! For the first time in nearly 2 decades, the United States produced more oil than it had to import, according to the federal Energy Information Agency. Two reasons were generally cited by most experts: (1)the burgeoning practice of hydraulic fracturing (a/k/a fracking) and (2)continued improvements in fuel-efficiency and energy-efficiency. Indeed, the percentage of imported oil fell from a high of 60% back in 2005 down to 35%, its’ lowest point since 1973, when it was also 35% during the Nixon Administration.
I’m of two minds here…on the one hand, I still very much want to see the United States eventually wean itself off of fossil fuels (and given their finiteness and slowly rising costs, America will eventually wean itself off of fossil fuels). On the other hand, having more domestically produced oil means that less of our dollars went to hostile and not-so-friendly regimes around the world and that is a good thing.
Sometimes I wonder if the the Christian Taliban here in America really understand how stupid they must appear to the rest of us here in the reality-based world…quoting:
A Kansas-based group that “promotes the religious rights of parents, children, and taxpayers” is challenging the state’s science standards because they include the teaching of evolution, which the group claims is a religion and therefore should be excluded from science class.
As the AP reports, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) claims that public schools “promote a ‘non-theistic religious worldview’ by allowing only ‘materialistic’ or ‘atheistic’ explanations to scientific questions.” The group argues that by teaching evolution “the state would be ‘indoctrinating’ impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment.”
COPE’s challenge [PDF] states that the teaching of evolution “amounts to an excessive government entanglement with religion” and violates the rights of Christian parents.(Right Wing Watch)
This is one of those “all-or-nothing” bull—- arguments that the Christian Taliban throw up at the rest of America whenever discussions involving any facet of science come up and I hope the judge in this case throws it and them out of their ass….just saying.
Wednesday marked another milestone in the development of commercial spaceflight with the launch of the first Cygnus resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station; if this mission is successful, odds are there could be two resupply spacecraft in use – the SpaceX Dragon and Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus – supplying the ISS and freeing up NASA for deep-space missions down the road.
Goodbye, Solar System! Hello, Universe!
That was the message the world heard from NASA scientists late this week as they announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched back in 1977, has indeed crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space, the first man-made object to do so.
Considering man’s other achievements, this has to be one of the greatest ever…hurrah Voyager!