Monday, May 3, 2010

What is NASA?


I've gotten a bit brain-fried in the past few months discussing NASA with what seems like hundreds of people, and I don't want to keep re-hashing it, because you'd have to be living in a cave somewhere in the Arctic Circle these days not to see NASA all over the news.

However, I've seen a video circulating for a couple weeks I'd like to share, and I really hope everyone takes a few moments to watch this. This is the most worthwhile 5 minutes I've seen on YouTube in a long time.

American astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson asks, what is NASA? What is NASA to us as a nation? While it's clear that "patriotism" is no longer intertwined with achievement in space the way it once was, I worry that people don't understand how much NASA still means to America's future.

New York - March 31, 2010

Why do we spend money in space as opposed to all our money on Earth? You'd be amazing how many Earth issues have been solved by looking at them from space. But like Tyson, the almighty "someday" we keep hearing about from our government truly worries me.

Someday, we'll go to Mars. Someday, we'll be pioneers again. Someday, when all our Earth problems are solved (as if that will ever, ever occur!), we'll worry about our place in the universe.

But as he emphasizes, the nations that embrace the bold investments are the nations who lead the world. So why is something so obviously valuable actually fading?

If you enjoy this, spend some time on his website... his many appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (please no hate mail about Pluto!!) and his interviews on Planetary Society Radio (hey, they interviewed me once too!) are great fun.

I also tirelessly recommend my favorite of his many books: "Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries."