I am proud to be part of a species where a subset of its members willingly put their lives at risk to push the boundaries of our existence.
What are the lessons to be learned from this journey of the mind [through the universe]? That humans are emotionally fragile, perennially gullible, hopelessly ignorant masters of an insignificantly small speck in the cosmos. Have a nice day.
When provoked, the itsy-bitsy invertebrates known as tardigrades can suspend their metabolism. In that state, they can survive temperatures of… 73 K (-328° F) for days on end, making them hardy enough to endure being stranded on Neptune. So the next time you need space travelers with the “right stuff,” you might want to choose yeast and tardigrades, and leave your astronauts, cosmonauts, and taikonauts at home.
The news media reported the $250 million [the cost of two failed Mars missions] as an unthinkably huge waste of money and proclaimed that something was wrong with NASA. The result was an investigation and a congressional hearing. Not to defend failure, but $250 million is not much more than the cost to produce Kevin Costner’s film flop Waterworld.
I have found that when calculating what no one has calculated before, like my observing sessions on the mountain, my mental acuity peaks. Ironically, these are the times that I would flunk the reality check normally reserved for mental patients and dazed boxers: What is your name? What day is it? Who is the president of the United States?… I do not know, and I do not care. I am at peace with my equations as I connect to the cosmic engines that drive our universe.
Regarding polar craters on the Moon:
Apart from the obvious advantages of having ice to melt, filter, then drink, you can also break apart the water’s hydrogen from its oxygen. Use the hydrogen and some of the oxygen as active ingredients in rocket fuel and keep the rest of the oxygen for breathing. And in your spare time between space missions, you can always go ice skating on the frozen lake created with the extracted water.
Ever since there have been people, there have been explorers, looking in places where other hadn’t been before. Not everyone does it, but we are part of a species where some members of the species do—to the benefit of us all.