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“Some critics of manned space flight on Capital Hill are said to be using their influence to hold down the amount of research on this subject [of Human-affecting radiation in Space]; this could be an indirect way of slowing the pace of flights to the moon and Mars.”

from Space Commerce, Materials Processing by Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. John L. McLucas

Who told NASA to Follow the Water? McKay? Was it you? Stop it!

TaggedSpace, Advocacy

Y'know, I read and listen to and watch a lot of Space related stuff.  I just spent a few insomnian hours ridding the DVR of recorded episodes of The Universe and The Planets... shows that I do like, but that have begun to become more and more of a droning of a tired robotic yawn:

"We are 'Following the Water' because finding life out there, even just a dead microbe, will change everything."

Chris McKay of course is the God of this line, but the same words come from every man & woman on screen so often and so by-the-book now that it seems everyone except the Pabst Blue Ribbon man who accidentally hit the Science Channel instead of a football game can feel their lips moving along in synch with the script.

Between you & I... just us private friends... do you really give a darn if a water goldilocks zone is supposedly found 50 light years away or even if our own dear Luna has a rock with dead bacteria?

I don't.  It doesn't jazz me at all.  It doesn't make me care for NASA's budget - even when it is pointed out that their budget is a mere a fraction of a percent of each federal tax dollar - and following the logic, it doesn't make me care all that much for NASA.

I may be wrong but from watching folks watch tv, I've come to the conclusion that the episodes of The Universe and all the other Space edutainment that really get real people on the edge of their seats and excitedly talking during commercials are the few and far between ones that have those worse-than-game-graphics astrobodies bouncing around asteroids and putting up greenhouses on CGI Mars.

People, regular people, who pay the taxes that pay the smart folks at the largest space related government agency on this planet, in my humblest opinion, have already accepted that there is life out there.  Done.  We believe it on faith already, check the stats.  Finding it officially will be news for a few days and then we'll be back to our daily routines.

Um, except for the fact that "officially finding life" will never happen, since any announcement of any evidence will be followed by other smart academics lining up with their 'proofs' that it was a hoax.... they want their place in the media sun too, after all.

So all of this finding life silliness is a lose lose program not worth the billions of bucks and hours of airtime even if people did care.

People, regular people, who pay their taxes to fund the smart folks who live on grants to Follow the Water are far more interested in themselves and their personal finances and personal potentials to advance their own futures.

And in fun, durn it.

Regular folks, the ones who are asked to pay the bills, care about becoming financially independant or simply staying employed; The dream is to work on or for something with their own hands and hearts that will pay off either in money directly or at least in some more-than-current personal freedom and personal independance.

Regular people who have the inclination to spare a quick thought about Space do it in short bursts of dreaming of Space being for themselves personally and for the better futures of their own families.

Regular people may not all want to be astro sod farmers, but - I feel - most all of us outside the NASA towers want to be in control of our own destinies.  And that we dream of destinies For Our Personal Selves beyond the traffic congested, resource thinning, rotting from the inside cities and towns that we are trapped in here right now.

There is no hope of a new continent being found across an earthly ocean, but there is private fantasy inside of us regular folks that a new ocean could somehow be magically found and that we could, *if we chose to*, sail it to a hard but satisfying place. 

Look, inside most all of us... MOST all of us, is the same heart that pulled bankers and ditch diggers alike from the shores of Europe to the new world of America.  Whether the individuals ended up in a New York ghetto or a picket fenced ranch house doesn't matter.

Inside many of us, if not most, is the same heart that pulled lawyers and ice wagon drivers away from the East Coast over to the slim chance of the gold in them thar hills in the big rushes.  Not everyone got rich in NorCal or Alaska... but everyone dreamed and worked hard with less than they had because of that dream.

And - my opinion, basedon a load of lookin' - as long as NASA continues to push this Follow the Water, Dead Microbes Will Change Everything smoke, the more regular people will tell their regular representatives that NASA is prolly not worth the extra money this year or next.  And they should.

It takes only a little bit of time looking at Space on Earth to start to see little big obvious secrets.  Countries with Space related budgets that are mere fractions of NASA's (a.k.a. Boeing/Lockheed's) are kicking our big fat American ass.

Arianespace and Roscosmos are teamed up and continuing to take the commercial launch business by storm; 100% American in 1974 went to 30% in 1989 and, according to the Space Foundation who tallies the stats, to 19% in 2009.

NASA poo-poos it when it is raised at every conference but JAXA got the first ever successful asteroid sample return landing in the outback last summer and this week's Space News reports that they are now in control of the major cargo return programs "for the ISS". Hmmmm, someone actually interested in getting to asteroids AND in bringing more than crumbs back to Earth? Weird, how could those two things possibly be related? ;-).

The business of making going up more accessable to more people is not lead by NASA, and the business of bringing viable commercial-volume loads down is not interesting to NASA.

I know what you're thinking.  NASA will again say that muscles atrophy in Space and bones lose their mass in Space.  Yeah, already.  We got it, already.  We've been getting it since 1964, already.  So What?  There's a ton of people here who have personal motivators that outweigh those gremlins.  Let us go already.  Obviously NASA has done nothing in two generations to get around these issues so practical thinking is to just to find candidates who fit the environment better or let people make their own decisions even if it means that they may have to live in Space once they are put there.  Hey, maybe you'll actually learn something from it!

Problem with that?  There are a LOT of people down here, maybe only picking the Gods among us - Gods by the terms of the environment down here on the planet surface - is a dumb dogma. 

NASA is a *civilian Space* organization, they are supposed to be doing their work for making us capitalist civilians more prosperous.  I used to think, very long ago,  that maybe a half penny per NASA dollar would go in some way towards work to make Space part of our working lives, offering greater hope for future personal liberties and even maybe some personal pursuits of happiness.  I don't have any faith in NASA for any of that any more.  But then again, I read a lot, listen a lot and watch a lot of both Space stuff ... and NASA stuff.

NASA is following the water.  NASA is going to be happy with a microbe.  Are you? 

I'm not.

Hey NASA people, you too Dr. McKay and you know I love ya guy (your Horta monster presentation is a hoot), do you want the masses with the collective monies to all be behind you again? All you gotta do is make us sweaty and uncouth regular people teeming around you more important than those far away microbes.

When we all get out there we'll thank the ones who got us there AND once we're all out there singing their praises from our job ships and our family asteroid mines I'll bet we'll eventually find more than just some dead bugs.  Sheer numbers will do the trick, as always, that elitism never does.

Do some research on your target audience, I'll bet you a thousand cash dollars right now and furreal that the ratings will show more people excited to jump on a rusting Russian rocket than those willing to wait yet another lifetime for whatever it is that NASA has in the current paper pipe.

Stop following the stinking water already, unless it's to find it for us to drink.  Get back to the job that you promised you would do.  For US.

 

>>March 9 2011 addendum: I recently surfed my way to an msnbc.com web page  about the Martian Meteorite Microbes and even though it didn't start out with "Follow the Water" it turned into that annoying cul de sac pretty quick.  My dander got up and because it had gone since 1998 without a single comment (as if this subject does not deserve a lively discussion),  I typed in a blaster.  Immediately the dusty article was alive and my views were written off as selfish and "me me me, sad sad sad".  So I thunk a'bit and decided to add in a line that that I didn't put here originally, because I was trying to make a point and generate response (all part of working things out for myself, to be honest with you.  It's why I bother typing non-practical stuff here... to learn by being exposed).

Here ya go.  If only NASA would say the words below or something even somewhere along this vein:

"We are following the water to look for Life AND ALSO, importantly, looking for it everywhere we can so that we can test it in order to ensure that Humans sent to Space destinations will be more able to live off the land when they get there."

What do you think?  Me me me, sad sad sad would be one of many me's who would be happy happy happy by that minor change in the script, Dr. Chris ;-).



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