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Saturday, February 01, 2003
Strange how quickly impotent rage changes to mere sorrow. What I wrote earlier was true. I felt that way. I do regret, however, calling W a fuck. That was probably a bit harsh. I saw his speech. The phrase he used, "The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth, yet we can pray that all are safely home," was wonderful. Kudos to the speech writer. But, someone on Plastic posted the speech that Reagan gave after Challenger. I read it and very nearly wept. OK, quietly wept.

Space exploration is one of the few things that I am truly passionate about. I didn't cry when Kurt Cobain killed himself. I was just very, very angry. I was also a teenager, but this was a different type of anger. I wasn't even surprised by his suicide. I can understand rock stars dying. But astronauts are different. Rock stars live fast... ummm, well, yeah, I guess they die young. Joe Strummer was 50, so, yeah, they still die young. The corpses are never pretty, but, really, 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

But astronauts... wow. Even if they are merely a mathematician, a different kind of mathematician and a statistician, they get to go to space. They get to see Earth from the outside. They get to ride in a rocket ship. They live sci-fi. Even if the experiments they do are science for the sake of science, I'm all for it. I'm all for moon colonies. I'm all for people living on Mars. I don't care if it serves no practical purpose -- it's what we're supposed to do. It's the way things work. Humans explore.

And it pains me when NASA doesn't get funding. I'm... well, I'm sad that Space Station Monkeystar (OK -- when it was finally decided that an international space station was going to be constructed, NASA, presumably along with ESA and the Russians, had a contest. School children were invited to name the space station. My favorite entry was Monkeystar. So, that's what I call it.) will probably never be completed. Not due to budget cuts, but due to the fact that the shuttles were integral to the construction process. Of course the fleet is grounded -- that's to be expected. The fleet is well over 20 years old. But there aren't any replacements. Boeing is out of money, so they scrapped their spaceplane. What really burns is that for around 1/10 of the money that we're going to spend in the war against Iraq, we could put people on Mars with exisiting technology.

The next few weeks are going to be crap.

Comments by: YACCS