If there’s been any good from the Columbia tragedy, it’s been the minor reawakaening of America to the dangers of space exploration, a reexamination of the benefits and costs, and a greater realization of the courage of the astronauts. The San Francisco Chronicle has two great articles, with great headlines. In It is rocket science, some of the pros and cons, the risks and rewards, the good and the bad are presented. Robotic exploration is mentioned as well. And some of the quotes are great:
Who tunes in to observe a group of scientists and payload specialists routinely climbing aboard for another shuttle cargo run? Not when you can see giggly young women in tube tops grab squirmy electric eels on “Fear Factor.”
Most Americans could not name a single astronaut who’s flown a successful shuttle mission in the past 10 years, although many can identify ‘N Sync pop star Lance Bass as a wannabe “space tourist” scrounging for Russia’s $25 million ticket price to hitch a Soyuz rocket ride to the international space station.
And in A plump, homely explorer of space, Columbia herself gets a homily.