NASA – why they don't matter anymore

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NASA put another craft on Mars over the weekend – did you notice?

I didn’t either.  I didn’t realize it until today when I went to lunch and someone mentioned it on the radio.

NASA people have mentioned in various interviews in the past few years, that they want to energize the public again, get us behind them as they continue their exploration of space.  I’m sorry, I truly am – but I think it’s far too late for that.

There used to be a lot of energy, a lot of expectations and enthusiasm regarding NASA and space travel in general, but I think that tapered off when we didn’t all start taking trips to the moon or flying around in our super cool flying cars.  The space program was a promise for the future – the future’s here and people kinda look around and go – "Hey!  Where’s all the cool stuff?!"

That’s not to say that we don’t have cool stuff to play with: iPods and digital cameras and cell phones and high def televisions to name just a few.  It’s just that, for me at least, when I look at the space program, I see old stuff.  Old technology, little innovation or movement forward – in short, I see a stagnant environment.

Now, that could simply be the misinformed musings of the layperson but from where I sit, we’re using the same vehicle to take our people into space that they used twenty-eight years ago.  How many of us are still driving the car we had twenty-eight years ago?  Have there really been no breakthroughs in space technologies in all that time?  From my persepctive, we have made leaps and bounds when it comes to personal technologies while NASA has stood still.  Even if we didn’t get the ‘Star Trek’ kinda future with flying cars and easy trips to the moon for the weekend, we have gotten a lot of really cool things in the last thirty years, so why didn’t NASA?

I suppose you could argue that NASA got it’s toys – like Hubble, but I think that if they want to generate energy and enthusiasm again, then we need some flash.  There used to be national pride involved too and I just don’t see that anymore. 

NASA, to me at least, seems to be standing still while the rest of the world is running forward.  Until they change that perception, I think their budget is going to continue to get cut and their milestones and missions will continue to get relegated to the end of the news report instead of the beginning, where it truly belongs.

~P