I feel like it’s pretty much a pipe dream right now, early TNG United Federation of Planets-style. Humans and, by extension, countries are far too focused on their own self-interest to cooperate on the scale that it would take to apply Rawlsianism on a grand scale. It’s almost the sort of system that would work better with computers or another life-form that was more able to interact and look at the bigger picture, rather than the singular individual. Or maybe it would just take more resources, where there’s less competition. Either way, our current situation, geopolitically speaking, just doesn’t make it feasible, and I can’t necessarily see that humanity is going to approach a situation that makes it any more likely in the next century or two.
And black forest cake.
- Person: I like Community!
- Me: ME TOO
- Person: That's cool.
- Me: I DON'T THINK WE'RE ON THE SAME PAGE
No one producing an Olympic teaser asks, “What’s the importance of 100 meters?” No, they tell us about the athletes who dedicate their lives to running the race, because dedication and triumph are what make a human running 100 meters interesting. If NBC can get us all misty-eyed about 100 meters, imagine what NASA could do with 200 million miles.
The Mars race is about human survival and understanding our place in a vast and terrifyingly beautiful universe. And the stories of its athletes (mathletes?) should be world-class, because they accomplish near-impossible tasks on a cosmic scale — the hardest sport you could ever compete in. It requires dedication and doggedness that only the most passionate people in the universe could deliver. Unfortunately, this drama plays out behind closed doors. We won’t have insights into the sacrifice, scandal, discovery, divorce, hardship, and drama that it takes to work for a decade delivering a one-ton super rover to another planet. It’s the biggest irony that the most junior engineer at NASA is fearless in the face of trying to send a robot to Mars, but the career bureaucrats are afraid to tell that engineer’s story of failure or success.
NASA will say that they’re doing the best they can and stretching their education and outreach budgets to the max. But if they hope to stay in business, they need to tell us how they’re pushing the limits of humanity with over-the-top, risky-ass missions that will answer questions about who we are as a species on this planet.” —
Andrew Kessler, The Huffington Post. Why You Should Be More Interested in Mars Than the Olympics.
Kessler, who spent ninety days inside NASA to write Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission, believes the agency is “so frightened of failure that they’re willing to sacrifice their greatest asset: the ability to inspire.” In other words, they no longer tell a good story.
Know who could help? Kick ass science journalists.
Sidenote: AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards applications are due tomorrow.
I want to tell that story. Holy crap do I want to film that and tell that story.(via berenzero)