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Oct 5, 2007 3:15 pm

Why Go To Space?

The Times assigned seven reporters to the article, so for it not to be first-rate would be unusual. Here’s the part that caught my eye:
In a nation where space exploration has long been linked to the collective self-esteem, the Discovery’s engineering glitches have provoked a wave of self-doubt. Some Americans are questioning the cost of turning the space fantasies into reality.
Aaron Sorkin gives the answer, from “Galileo,” the ninth episode in the second season of the West Wing:
Mallory: Did we really have to go to Mars?

Sam: Yes.

Mallory: Why?

Sam: ‘Cause it’s next. ‘Cause we came out of the cave. And we looked over the hill and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean. And we pioneered the West. And we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration, and this is what’s next.

Mallory: I know.

Sam: People like you who say... What?

Mallory: I said, I know. We’re supposed to be explorers.

See also Ron Pisaturo,"Should We Go To Mars? Wrong Question: Property Rights Key Issue in Going To Mars," Capitalism Magazine, October 16, 2001.

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