Bookmark and Share

You are here: Home News 270 Minutes Without Space

270 Minutes Without Space

So far in this election season, we have had three debates – two between the presidential candidates, one between the vice presidential candidates. A total of 4.5 hours – 270 minutes – of debate has already happened. In those two hundred and seventy minutes, how many times have they talked about, mentioned, or even skirted the issue of space exploration and the growing private industry associated with it?

If you didn’t figure it out from the bleak tone, the answer is zero.

No candidate has made any mention of their space policy plan in a long time, at least certainly not during a widely covered interview or major campaign stop.

What’s more disturbing in these debates is that talks of science and technology that will give our nation true energy independence and halt our impact on the environment have been divorced from space exploration, the very frontier that requires the strictest conservatism man has ever faced. Technologies used in space to reclaim fresh water, save power, and limit fuel consumption can be spun-off for use on Earth as well. By ignoring the problems humans face in the harsh environment of space, we ignore more robust ways to deal with our growing global energy demands.

Why aren’t we talking about this? Is it because our politicians and our news media think we’re too simple-minded to process these sorts of things? On CNN’s VP debate report card, commentator Leslie Sanchez complained that Joe Biden sounded “unnecessarily verbose and technical when explaining the Obama/Biden progressive agenda.” That’s funny, because despite what the news media will try to tell you about Sarah Palin’s small-town charm, numbers and technical details are what will make or break this nation on budget, energy, and space exploration issues, not how a certain public figure’s eyeglass frames aren’t available in the entire state of Texas anymore. Leave those reports for lesser media outlets like People magazine and TMZ, not CNN and Fox News.

Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about events. Small people talk about other people. We will never come out of this era of constant pessimism and polarization without some kind of guiding light, non-partisan hope, or some idea for which we as a nation and as a planet can reach towards. If our news media and leaders constantly talk only about people without in-depth focus on ideas and the implications of our actions permutated decades into the future, then our society will never be ready for great advances.

Throughout our short history as a nation, we have made no wiser investment, embarked on no bolder of an adventure, nor earned more respect from the rest of the world when we put our weapons down and pointed our ships to the skies and left Earth’s gravitational potential well. If we as Americans ever want to feel that pride again, the pride we felt even amongst one of the most turbulent times in our history, we must be willing to make that commitment to continue to explore. If we don’t, China will. Europe will. India will. And we, the meek, will inherit what’s left of the Earth.

If you believe in energy independence, putting a stop to global climate change, developing better technologies for our future, then you should believe in space exploration. We need to make this message loud and clear not just to our state representatives, but also our news media.

Note: Obama mentioned the Apollo program in the most recent debate. However, this was a comparison to bold strategies and how when we as a nation make a goal to do great things, we can. It was more of a statement about the leadership of JFK than a call to action in space.

Ben Corbin

Contributing Writer

AddThis Feed Button