Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Shuttle and looming issues

Watching "the last" Shuttle launch a few days ago (on HDTV) there was much chatter about the bittersweet feelings the whole event was freighted with. The shuttle launch host, Greg Dobbs, spoke of the effects the end of the shuttle era would bring to bear... the loss of a fair infusion of tourist cash to the Florida Spacecoast, the loss of employment as NASA and USA (United Space Alliance) start laying off people - these facts were mentioned during a voiceover of a video view of the launch pad from far above.

There is nothing like a scene viewed from far above, where a lot of the small things aren't visible and may as well not be there, to give you a little perspective. Maybe a bit too much f***ing perspective. My imagination was off like a shot, thinking of what the future holds.... rather dark stuff as in a science fiction short story. If you've ever read them, you know what I mean. The launch pad, when viewed from above, didn't show that over 750,000 people were in the area to see this launch. It showed a barren cement pad - like an abandoned amusement park. The future panned out before me in an instant: Entropy will increase.Eventually, grass will grow through the pavement. The US will continue to wither, while growth and positive can-do spirit is completely extinguished. No one will visit the Kennedy Space Center or care about rockets or even look up at the night sky. They will all be too busy watching TV - something like Jersey Shore or 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show - except even more outrageous and awful. Stephen King's Running Man is almost ready to air.

Instead, now that I've shared my miserable imaginings, I will choose instead to believe that NASA will revamp its program, that rockets will fly, and the looming downturn I spontaneously envisioned will never touch ground.

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