Let me be clear: I love NASA. I think it represents the best of what we humans can do. I also know it is tied in knots trying to appease the whims of Congress and the White House, two winds that blow in vastly different directions. I have taken the president to task before for mysteriously and bafflingly underfunding planetary exploration, but in this case the White House has it right.
I know that SLS and Orion are too big and moving forward too much to cancel now. That’s a political reality, and while I can’t make my peace with it, I can understand its truth. But this nickel and diming Commercial Crew must stop. Boeing and SpaceX need that money to keep the schedule, and if Congress can’t find it, then we’ll just be sending payload bays full of cash to Russia for many more years to come.More.
Yes, it’s a bad scene. But maybe it had to happen. And there is nothing “baffling” about it.
Look at Stephen Hawking’s latest pronouncements: He now thinks escape from a black hole is possible (Dr. Hawking, relax, this is the auto-eject model… )
Dr. Hawking, your black hole is ready now (The way some people talk about other universes, you would think they were just another neighbourhood. We’ve never established that there are other universes.)
If we really believe that such stuff is the heart of science, we probably aren’t interested in radio messages from the moon (or maybe one day from Mars) anyway.
How can such mundane information as we’d find in our own solar system compare with the black hole as gateway to—hold your breath!—another universe?
In short, the multiverse is a big ticket item, intellectually. And we bought it. And bought what it leads to: The shrinking of evidence-based science in favour of theory-driven science.
The shrinking of “On small step for man, One giant leap for man-kind.” down to “Black holes in fact aren’t as ‘black’ as people thought and could be a way of getting through to an alternative universe.”
Is it too late to return the mental clunker and get back to real science?
See also: In search of a road to reality
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