Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Pheonix Has Fallen, He Will Not Rise Again

The Eagle has landed, and the Phoenix has died... Roughly five months after landing, the Phoenix lander has finally uttered its last sentence, tweetered its last micro-blog, and analyzed its last soil sample. The little lander that discovered so much, and had cost the tax payers 500+ million dollars has ended its existence. This is a sad moment for Americans, and for Humanity et al, as this little robot gave us such great information. The Phoenix lander discovered that there IS water on Mars, showed that it had melted at some point, and, quite frankly, was totally kickass. Phoenix was a worthwhile investment, and it furthered our information on the universe and our fellow planets. Hell, it might have found the first real evidence of likely life on Mars.

The question becomes, is this sort of knowledge really worth the funding it takes? Some could argue that it doesn't, as we should fix the shit that is happening here on the planet. Others would argue that it should be private, and that capitalism usually works. Others say yes, it is worth it, because the knowledge is the most important thing in the universe. Others say yes because of what it gives us to use on this planet, and that it thus does help the problems on this world. Which is right, that is your call?

Now, I am not talking about absurd things that come from space, like the Ballpoint pen, Velcro, or the rumor of Tang. FYI, Tang was invented before we started going to space, it just was first used largely in space. I am talking about the other inventions; the advances in robotics, the advances in computer technology, in jet technology, in health services, and in medicine. Hell, our TV, Internet, and Cell Phones rely on satellites, definitely caused by the Space Race (and, their locations should have been patented by Clarke). All of these come from our searching through space, all of these help people on Earth. It is clear that exploring space - be it local areas like the geosynchronous orbits, to other planets like Mars, to the Voyager space craft rocketing away from out solar system - will help us here on Earth greatly.

Another good reason to keep looking into space is the idea of a Space Arc. In time, this world will become more and more resistant to humans, and we will need to leave this planet en mass. Be it pollution, asteroids, or merely over crowding, we will need to leave in time. Furthermore, it is just safe to keep your eggs in two, three, or fifteen different baskets, not the fragile one that is Earth. Exploring and learning more about space makes sure that we are able to do this, and make sure that we can save humanity, no matter what happens. We need to look into space to save our species, and to make sure that we do not all die.

So, why do you think that we need to be in space, or, for that matter, why do you think that we shouldn't be (or shouldn't invest so much federal monies into it). For me, it is a combo of the getting off this planet part and the search of knowledge.

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