To Hell With The Space Race

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Space exploration was hugely influenced by the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. It became a sense of national pride to launch artifical elements, and then people, into space.  It really came down to a race for military and ideological supremacy. Anything else was a bonus.  

That was then. In current times, this space race mentality is no longer necessary. We shouldn't be comparing ourselves to China, India, or other countries.  Especially since space exploraiton is a great example of international cooperation (the International Space Station, and the science projects which take part on it, wouldn't exist otherwise).

I watched a great panel this weekend with former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, chief astronomer Derrick Pitts, Dr. Nina Khrushcheva and aeronautics professor Wesley Harris. It's rare to see a nuanced, in depth discussion about space on television - check it out!

(If you can't see the video below, click here)

Interestingly, Melissa Harris-Perry's experience with the Challenger explosion made her hate space. I had the opposite reaction - it made me dig into my resources to see what went wrong and how our scientists worked hard to improve the safety aspects of space travel.  Science is about exploration, which unfortunately means learning from mistakers

The second video is on the privatization of spaceflight with the same panel - check it out!

(If you can't see the video below, click here)

Presidential Science - Vote!

Today is Election Day in the US. No matter what your political affiliation is, make sure that you exercise your right to vote! Among the many things that the president can influence in four years is science and technology.

Several presidents were science geeks. Truman signed the bill to create the National Science Foundation, Carter helped fund the Hubble Space Telescope, and Kennedy helped launch space exploration by promising to put a man on the moon before anyone really knew how to. Also, President Garfield proved that #ScienceLooksGood by submitting a proof for the Pythagorean theorem, which I'm sure you learned in high school and can recite on command.

T.C Scottek has a lengthy article on The Verge detailing the stances of the four main presidential candidates on various science and tech issues such as the Internet, cyber security, war, and space.. Read up, and vote, vote, vote!!!!

Oh yeah, and vote!