Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Neil deGrasse Tyson gets mad.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, current Director of the Hayden Planetarium and all around good guy. He is a frequent guest on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and it's always a fun show when he's on. What I'm saying is we like him here at Candy Buffet. So when the seemingly nicest astrophysicist you'll ever meet starts ranting we tend to listen. And what is it that has him all riled up? The fact that we've all but abandoned manned (I want women astronauts too, sexy nerdy women astronauts) space exploration.

Back in 2010 President Obama cancelled the Constellation program and while he did increase NASA's budget he endorsed a kind of wishy-washy plan for the ultimate goals of NASA. He said, essentially, yeah, we should go back to the Moon and probably Mars and there are some asteroids and things we should check out but our current plans won't get us there so let's kind of, you know, do some studies or something. And probably the biggest shift was the decision to move away from government backed heavy lifters to a private enterprise based  system.

I don't like this and Mr. Tyson doesn't like this. As he points out, the space program of the mid to late 60's was a huge boon to the economy and the technological superiority of the U.S. as well as a great motivator to the next generation. Going into space in a sustained, permanent way should be the ultimate goal of humanity and we're not going to get there by saying maybe we should go check out some asteroids sometime.

Which is why I was pretty excited when Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said that by the end of his second term we would have a permanent Moon base. Then my head exploded and I wept for 24 hours straight questioning my own existence, because, FU@#$%, I actually agreed with and liked something   horrible, hypocrite pus-bag Newt Gingrich said. But then it got worse, everyone started laughing at Newtie and I was in the position of defending him until I realized that Newt is probably basing his ideas on comic books and he's a crazy person that everyone laughs at all the time regardless of what he says.

Now I'm hoping someone in the Obama administration is listening to Mr. Tyson and not the people laughing at Newt because I do feel that a definitive statement from the President of a bold and clear plan outlining the next step in our exploratory journey could again reap vast benefits for all humankind. A statement like this one.

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