24 January 2004

Ongoing Spirit Saga & The Final Frontier

So the latest on the Spirit seems to be that it is fux. For some reason I have a really personal reaction to its demise (or at least its entry into a coma). I was actually excited by the President's whole Space Exploration speech. A part of me knows that it's a reelection gimmick and that Bush, unlike Kennedy, planned this thing for so far in the future that he doesn't have to worry about getting the prodigious amounts of money required to actually do this thing.

Still, there's a part of me that wants to work for NASA and that wants them to recapture the glory of the Apollo days. I have a very emotional reaction to the idea in a kid-looking-at-the-stars kind of way. Apollo is an example of the kind of project that captures a generation's imagination and becomes bigger than the people working on it or the specific goals they have. Going to the Moon didn't accomplish much for the average American (unless you count Tang), but it became a source of unity and pride.

I desperately want George W. Bush to mean what he says about a new plan for NASA. I thought the Mars rovers' success would serve as a prompt to the public to pull together behind that new vision, but it looks like we're losing the element which matters more than a bigger budget or a commitment to finally mothballing the shuttle: our Spirit.

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