Let's take a less-than-serious look at a very serious question: What would it take to get politicians really, really interested in space settlement? According to the on-line satire publication The Onion, at least one former politician already thinks, breathes, and lives the dream in his spare time. Follow this link for the Onion's hilarious exploration of... part-time space exploration.
Welcome to Space Place, a series of Op-Eds where members and fans of the Denver Space Industry can sound off about current topics. Feel free to post your feedback below.
While the Onion proposes this Mars obsession as mere entertainment, wouldn't it be great if it were really true? After 40 years of exploring, engineering, and science-ing, NASA hasn't found a magic formula for taking their next bold step into space. Perhaps the primary obstacles have more to do with vision than technology?
Politicians routinely get caught up in the "topic of the day" while completely losing sight of the big picture. We - the public - are partly to blame because we don't give enough credit and support to those rare ones who buck the trend. Phrasing this thought in Onion-like satire, if King Ferdinand has ignored Columbus in 1492 and spent his treasure on his feudal nation's pressing social needs (or weapons for fighting a bloody civil war in northern Spain), just think what a paradise Spain would be today!
The immense task of creating a space-faring civilization - unarguably the greatest leap forward for the human race - ever - should occupy the thoughts and daydreams of most of our politicians. Yet we keep electing people who literally don't have a clue when it comes to space. So who are the real fools, them or us? And if we give up on our current crop of politicians, wouldn't it be great if former politicians found themselves with enough relaxed free time to rediscover what's really important?
I've helped groups like the National Space Society and the Mars Society recruit political (or other big-name) speakers for their yearly conferences. Most of the time it's like pulling teeth. Why? What can these people possibly be doing that's more important than promoting the dream of a future free of Earthly limitations like environmental pollution, energy and food starvation, economic slavery, and perhaps even war?
Now it's your turn to express your opinion. How do we change our political culture? Should we even try? Can private enterprise turn its back on politics and give mankind the kick-in-the-pants it needs? Are we all just whistlin' dixie?