The Speculist: It's About Damn Time Somebody Said It


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It's About Damn Time Somebody Said It

I think we might need to send Norm Augustine a FastForward Radio coffee mug. And if President Obama pays attention to what Augustine is saying, and runs with it, I'm ready to send him FOUR of the coveted cups -- that's one each for the Prez, the first lady, and each of the girls (for cocoa, of course). As has been widely reported elsewhere, the Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit sub-group had fairly provocative things to say at the get-together of Augustine's Human Space Flight review committee. Let's begin with their first point:

/-- Human expansion into the solar system must be accepted as the key goal. Otherwise, manned spaceflight is pointless.

Absolutely. Read it again.

I believe that is one of the most beautiful statements I've ever seen. And it's the first time in a loong time (if ever) that we've seen something so bold and visionary come from anyone acting in even a quasi-official governmental capacity.

It's a pretty straightforward choice. Either we're going someplace, or we're going nowhere. Either we're moving human influence, human activity, and human presence beyond this planet, or we're staying here.

You either get busy living or you get busy dying.

The rest of the points are pretty exciting, too. I was particularly taken with this one:

/---- All options should include fuel depots.

If you wonder why this is a big deal, our friend Mr. Simberg can explain it for you a lot better than I can.


Interesting indeed. And it is hard for people to say this sort of thing in government because unfortunately, the real fruits of such labor are decades in the future - and it is incredibly hard to get anyone but the SF nuts thinking that far ahead. I seriously wonder where the human race would be now if it wasn't for people dreaming up futures to reach for.

I don't think humans are going to leave this planet, because I expect AI to arrive first. In fact I don't even think NASA will achieve their goal of putting men on Mars by 2030, because I don't expect political will to be sustained for that length of time.

Damn, that sound's so easy if you think about it.

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