Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Oh, and one more thought, although not linked to any specific article: the point of the space program, fundamentally, is neither science nor commerce. The point is to have humans in space- to extend our reach off the planet as human beings through the medium and mechanism of human beings. While in the light of recent tragedy it can be tempting to say "why not just robots do it", I think that misses the reason why we should be up there in the first place. It's got to be done, and it has to be us; because if we ever shie away from it now that we have the opportunity and ability to do so, then we have already doomed ourselves to extinction. We've come too far to go back, and I think every single man and woman that has been in space understands that.

Besides, human eyes need to see the planet from space, now more than ever. In an age where what divides us looms large, the reality of (and fragility of) our shared home is something that is simply too important to be seen through a monitor. The Earth seen on a television is a special effect. The earth seen out a window is the embodiment of Beauty and Hope.

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