A few weeks ago I was giving a presentation on the future of US space flight. It was a pretty good presentation, if I do say so myself, and I had lots of fun making it and presenting it. It was a small crowd of about 30 – 40 folks, which is strange for a clear night at Kopernik Observatory, and somewhere during the presentation, one of those rare moments of inspiration arose, and I just had to share it here on the blog.
Faster Than Light Travel (credit: NASA)
At the very end of the presentation, I presented a slide covering various technology and efforts which I hadn’t gone over in the presentation. I was only summarizing and providing a list of things to research for those interested. After all, we have to keep the presentations down to 45 minutes to allow folks to observe the heavens. However, I hit a moment where it was really just myself in the room despite all the others, and was able to block everyone else out. I absolutely long for moments like that, when everything became clarity, and time seemed to stop outside that moment. For a brief time, I had found a Zen like state to exist in, and it couldn’t have been interrupted by a better question…
The Augustine Report was released this month, and there isn’t much good news for those of us who want to see NASA accomplish all of its goals in human space flight. The choices are all tough, many folks employment future at NASA has been placed in uncertainty, and no tangible results will be reached until nearly 2020 under the best of options. One Twitter Spacetweep said it best, “I guess we are all bogged down in trivia, and don’t have the same curiosity and excitement anymore.” Therein lies the problem with human space flight…it doesn’t carry with it the excitement anymore.
I woke up this morning, turned on my MacBook Pro (which I love!) as part of my start of day ritual. I walked outside to get the newspaper, and looked over at my family’s cars. Went into the garage, sat down in my foldout chair, lit up a cigarette, and started to drink my morning coffee out of my spectacular Starbuck’s coffee mug. A familiar theme started to resound in my head. The only things in this morning ritual (including my bathrobe and clothes) that were made in America that I noticed were my newspaper, my cigarette, and my coffee. Everything else was made somewhere else. Of course both the newspaper and cigarette are sunset industries for their own marketplace reasons. The coffee itself will be a thriving business for sometime to come, but the mugs in which it is consumed are not. Therein lies the rub.
We all experience this in each of our daily lives. And I think we all reflect upon it from time to time. It is hard not to. I think we all do this because deep inside, each and every one of us knows what a bad thing our dependency on the rest of the World is. Or at least it feels that way. This morning though, it dawned on me just how bad this condition is becoming for us.
STS-128 Discovery Liftoff (Photo Credits: NASA)