Later today, Commander Chris Hadfield begins his journey back to Earth. It's easy to imagine fellow spacemen Roman Romanenko and Tom Marshburn dragging Hadfield out of the International Space Station, kicking and screaming. “Just one more song!” the Gene Autry of astronauts will plead, frantically tuning his acoustic guitar. “The people need more tweets!”
The real job of astronauts – and one Hadfield has excelled at – seems to be inspiration. As Lawrence Krauss noted in Guardian a few years back – calling the ISS a “$100bn boondoggle orbiting in space closer to Earth than Washington DC is to New York” – space travel has never really been about science. It’s been about adventure.
The space-race of the 60s was little more than Cold War dick-measuring. We went to space because we could, and then figured out exactly what the hell we're supposed to be doing up there. To put a face on the astronomical sunken cost of the space program, organizations like NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have worked to position astronauts not as scientific leaders, but as Heroes. “Astronauts inspire us by their courage and skill,” Krauss writes, “and not least by the fact that they risk death every time they step into a spacecraft.”
Why am I not surprised at this kind of article, these days? Most people have been bamboozled by the environmental movement to be nothing more than neo-Luddites, embracing woo-woo bullshit 'alternative therapies' to fix medical problems and insisting that solar and wind power will solve all of our energy problems. What we need is real science to be taught again, but we're not getting it these days.
Anybody have a opinion on this?