going to start breaking enigmatic silence soon. records pretty much done and ready for mastering and we have a superfun weekend planned too, i'll get to that later, but for now, unless you want to read a long nasa rant, sorry to have wasted your time, and can you go get me some cigarettes so i can spend all day in bed. thx.
right, i just wanted to say how disappointed and angry i am, at the human race in general, about this. in case everyone's unclear, thats a shitty phonephoto taken by a human being from his space ship window as he zooms home. i think i need to write that again with feeling. a shitty phonephoto taken by a HUMAN BEING from his SPACESHIP WINDOW. and it's going to be the last one for a long while, because NASA can't afford to fly people around in spaceships anymore.
god thats depressing.
My parents had the moon landings as their generation defining, where-were-you-when moment. I can't imagine how that must have felt, watching those shitty b+w live footage of the moonwalk, the feather test, the golf swing, seeing your fellow humans achieve something we'd been dreaming about since the day god or robot dinosaurs put us here. breaking free of the earth. and not just the sheer physical spectacle, but the imagination too - if we can do that, then... what next?
before the internet, before punk, any of those things that form cornerstones of our lives now, our parents all went round each others houses, got high and watched their species break into the heavens, lark about on the moon, and rollercoaster back. - what'll we do next?
what was our moment? probably watching a fucking mass grave being created in new york. thanks guys. thanks loads for that.
by the time my generation was popping out, we'd got pretty blasé about spacemen. the apollo capsule looked almost comical, the NASA equivalent of those early failed wood and canvas aeroplanes, 15 flimsy wings stacked around a bicycle. we had actual bonafide space-ships now. they flew up, did cool science stuff, flew back down and got cleaned and flown again. they looked good too, safe, streamlined and graceful. i mean, we even named one after star trek; all cool and cocky because that future that our parents had seen hinted at, those -what nexts, was actually happening.
i grew up in the shadow of the shuttle missions. the first thing i can remember, ever, is the video feed of the challenger disaster. bits of fiery metal and dead astronaut raining down over florida. if that brought home the sheer danger of what my fellow spacemen (because i knew, with the absolute certain conviction of a 5 year old boy, that that'd be my job someday, to sit strapped helpless to a rocket and pray nothing exploded this time) were attempting, then in my mind, it only added to the glamour. there was plenty of jaw dropping video and photography around to soak up exactly how fucking awesome being an astronaut would be. the last of the explorers, real life sci-fi pioneers.
As shown by computers and war, if there's money in the game then progress is exponential. and so our grandparents had spent horrible desperate years perfecting rockets and calculating trajectories, our parents had put it all together and made the first small steps, and here i was, a mere infant and we had already the ships down pat and had moved on to space stations. surely, by the time i graduated from rocket college, we should at least have some kind forward base on mars and be looking out of our own solar system.
because who wouldn't want to throw gregariously large sums of money at a genuine honest to god succesful and brilliant Space Program. especially cos now, the ones with the genuine power are the ones who all went round each others houses a few paragraphs ago, got high, and watched the moon landings and dreamt of what'd come after that. space colonies. alien searches. the future. outwards, further, more. and at some point in these meetings held by the ones ascended into power, someone absolutely must have said -some kind of forward base on mars..
then, y'know, stuff, commerce, miniwars, decline of civilisation, political spin. nasa have never been too good at pr: whilst each crash or falling space station made it to mainstream networks, repeated scheduled shuttle missions saw diminishing returns.
-nasa rep - here are some things from outer space, behold some space rock and some pictures of new stars and some proven science theory.
government rep - this is frankly quite boring. can we weaponise or sell this?
-.... no? i don't know. it's from space, don't you see? from as far out of the natural reach of mankinds hands as is possible to chart yet we managed to capture and return it for all to see...
-whilst i respectfully see your point, i would like to add, so what? i'm seeing $99millions worth of pretty stars and some maths i don't understand. i think you guys are cool, spacemen and all that, but your business acumen is appalling. hows the forward base on mars looking?
-we're not supposed to be a business! and if you're genuinely serious about mars this time we'll need another few $99million transfers please.
-really? look, since i've been around, all you've done is piss about in those shuttles launching visually identical satellites or finding out poncey facts about science. its so dull. the ratings peak whenever some of you explode but that doesn't exactly bring donations in. and, while you were out, we declared war on terror itself. have you any idea how many gunships it's going to cost to the army to kill terror? honestly, it's not going to happen unless you find some moon-insurgents to zap or something.
-the loss of life in any situation is awful if it was avoidable but all of our dead accepted the risks and judged them to be worth it for the sake of progress, not just to the science community, but for all of human kind. we do this for everyone, not like your wars. In the vast majority of cases, their families and loved ones respected their wishes and are intensely proud they died doing something so spectacular for the greater good. your army brings home corpses everyday, could their parents say the same? public opinion is a tool you manipulate and spin for your own ends, don't sully us with it. also, moon.....insurgents?
-whatever spaceman, you rode the wave and now it's gone. i've got like, 18 different warzones going on and each of them needs bomb money. honestly, i'm sorry. perhaps you guys could build us a giant war robot instead. mars is the god of war right? so call it mars, you guys love the injoke names!
-but.. but i..
-also, the shuttles you have left, could you paint them radar invisible and have them hover round warzones zapping insurgents?
- not unless you smelt them completely and use the raw materials. incidentally, the way you've suddenly started over using the term insurgent like it refers to a human avatar for Terror Itself ironically makes you appear more sinister evil side.
-right, i see. well, i'm going to have to ask you to take them to the smelting yard too then..
-what! you.. you're cancelling mankinds greatest technological achievement, a global poster icon of the wonders that can be achieved by mortal man, a thousand tiny miracles that turned scifi into the bleak realm of the actual, without any kind of viable replacement? what are impressionable pre-teens boys going to dream about?.
-build me a war robot that shits bombs and help us kill Terror, or go do some sketches for crazy ginger branson if you want to still play spacemen. as for young boys, well, those radar invisible gun planes won't fly themselves
-they will, actually.
-are you being insurgenty with me?
- (walking away broken and sobbing) - i literally brought him stardust....
ladies and gentlemen i've already hijacked too much of yr time. my point is, i want spacemen back. if i could write to Mr I-cancelled-the-shuttle, i'd tell him this:
I think that manned spaceflight is more important than territory, or oil, or politicking, or commerce, or any other reason you can use. Its important technological progress and it's important that young boys grow up wanting to be spacemen not soldiers, sure, and more importantly, it's answering some massive questions about our place in the universe, and, even more importanterer than than that, it's hope. it's the luxury of being able to say "that's amazing. if we can do that, then, what next?"
as a species, i'd say we need that now.
It's stark choice between exploring the other 99.99999999999999999999% of the environment we exist in OR accepting we're doomed to live on a shitty rock forever, butchering each other over depleting natural resources and ideological differences we could once have had the guts to prove. please reconsider your decision concerning spaceships, and the forward base on mars.