When I was in high school, I saw a National Geographic map of the surface of Mars. I was captivated with the idea that, someday, humans would walk those dusty stones. Not me personally- not with my wealth of defective traits that only survived to be passed down to me because modern medicine allows us to subvert natural selection- but somebody. Humanity gaining a foothold on Mars, and throughout the solar system, was science fiction- but the kind of science fiction that predicted the inevitable. These days, that vision seems less and less inevitable. And I think we've lost something precious as a result.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is dead right. If we diverted even a fraction of the colossal tides of money that flow through the coffers of our governments towards space exploration and the feats of science and engineering that effort requires, it would revitalize our nation. It would give us a dream, something to take pride in. Something to outlast the cycles of the economy and elections. Something awesome.

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    July 2012