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“Space exploration, like jazz and other people’s weddings, is something most people only pretend to care about.”

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Space: rocks floating around in the dark. Who cares?

Canadian blogger Five Feet of Fury offers her blunt opinion, which may be more widespread than many science nerds suppose:

After the novelty wore off, NASA spent decades getting borderline bitchy about how nobody else cared about their launches and missions anymore. But they had turned into Marge Simpson in that one where she keeps wearing the Chanel suit to everything.

When nobody else is looking, nobody over the age of 12 gives much of a crap about real life space travel. They care more about imaginary space travel; who gets asked for his autograph more often: the second man on the moon (whoever that was) or Leonard Nimoy?

Proof that nobody is really, truly awestruck by this stuff is this story.

She means “Missing Apollo 17 moon rock worth $10m found in Bill Clinton’s files” here. Any evidence it was a treated as a big scandal?

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I'm not hip enough to know what that means, but I'm not cynical. Given sufficient resources I would never suggest that space exploration was a waste of time, even if I didn't know what might come of it. Every journey begins with a step, and you don't know where it leads until you get there. But given the same money and manpower, surely there's something more immediately useful and certainly effective we could do. People across the world are gripped by countless anxieties. How many sleep better at night because a space shuttle launched? Admittedly it's a false choice. We could use the resources that are truly wasted or hoarded, take care of more earthlings, and look for cool stuff in space. That we don't says more about our ambition and our future than any space program. ScottAndrews
You are channelling Post-Modern cynicism. Somewhere out there is a 12-year old who really does think Mars is cool. Check out the Mars Society for some "true believers". Yes, there's a strong correlation between Modernism and NASA promoters--you can look at Mike Griffin's defense of NASA. And you know what else is weird? NASA is bigger overseas than it is at home. The US may be burned in effigy, but NASA still gets respect. Robert Sheldon
I get the appeal of exploring space. It's an expansion of knowledge and experience, and good things typically come from that. Among common people there may be some notion that it will eventually lead to exciting and beneficial encounters with new life forms, better defenses when they attack us, finding a new home for humanity when the Earth is contaminated, finding more water, or claiming territory for one country first so we can have something else to fight over, thereby destroying everything and necessitating a new home for humanity where we can form new factions, war, and waste resources, giving other life forms more reasons to attack us. Surely there must be some lower-hanging fruit we can pick. ScottAndrews
Amen about Jazz. Add the blues, people are barely interested in natural stuff on earth much less stuff in space which is very primitive. Once leaving earth to orbit and then the moon and then making sure Mars etc was lifeless THE interest has left the building. There is nothing exciting to do up there. I remember in a movie Woody Allen complained about the Astronauts being PROTESTANT (read Non Jewish) . So unless space becomes a serious affirmative action enterprise with ethnic and sex identity's getting their day in the sun (or one of them) then it seems the thrill is gone and soon the money. Science fiction can fill better the mystery of space. Robert Byers

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