Space & the beginning of summer

By Razib Khan | May 27, 2012 11:51 am

It’s been a big few weeks for space, with the success of Dragon. I don’t have anything to add in a descriptive or analytic sense, I know as much (or likely less) as you on this issue (this is why should read Bad Astronomy). Needless to say I’ve been rooting for Elon Musk’s enterprise, so to speak. I’m not old enough to remember the “space race,” which put a man on the moon. Rather, for my generation space and NASA had become rather pedestrian, with the shuttle being a sky ferry par excellence. Space is important not because of what it will do for us in concrete terms (e.g., Tang), but what will do for us on a deeper level. Otherwise we may fall prey to the sort of ennui one reads about in science fiction universes such as the city of Diaspar. Remember, we’re the species which made it to the New World and Oceania. This sort of crazy and irrational endeavor is part of who we are.

On a different note, hope people are enjoying the de facto start of the summer (Memorial Day weekend in the USA).

  • Joshua Zelinsky

    Rather, for my generation space and NASA had become rather pedestrian, with the shuttle being a sky ferry par excellence.

    The last bit of this sentence seems a bit too strong. The shuttle had a lot of problems and travel with the shuttles was never as routine, cheap, or safe as was planned (in fact, by an order of magnitude for each). Sky ferry yes. Helped make space travel more routine yes. Par excellence? Not really. And one of the really unfortunate things is that rather than make a new version of the shuttle that learns from the problems of the previous, the government is making a new manned vehicle whose specifications are more decided by lobbyists for the shuttle manufacturers like Morton-Thiokol who want to keep their big contracts.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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