Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I am watching...

a video tour of the International Space Station (ISS) that is being broadcast on NASA-TV. Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke is floating through the orbiting outpost with video camera in hand, moving module to module, providing a running commentary and occasionally peeking out a window. Very cool stuff.

I am conflicted about the ISS. In terms of the human exploration of space it's a mission to nowhere. Sure there's some science and a lot of technology being developed on board, but in terms of the outward exploration of space it falls short.

Setting the goal of returning humans to the Moon has been long overdue in my opinion, and I am pleased that NASA is now tasked with that mission. Then onto Mars. Robot explorers are highly practical from the view of relatively low expense and zero loss of life, but someone needs to go to Mars with a rock hammer! I strongly believe that humans have a role in exploration of our solar system, just as Lewis and Clark, John Wesley Powell, John Fremont and many other early explorers mapped the terra incognita that once existed in the place of the now familiar western US.

I volunteer. Someone will have to cover my classes while I'm gone.

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