January 26, 2014

Let’s Get More Excited About Space Travel

Here’s an idea. Instead of endless reports about Justin Bieber and other mindless crap, let’s get more excited about space travel.

Captain Video And His Video Rangers

(This isn’t a picture of real space travel. It’s Captain Video and His Video Rangers. Old TV show.)

Live streaming video by Ustream

(By the way, the latest Bieber news, as of this writing, is that Usher flew to be by Justin’s side and offer emotional support or something. In case you’re curious. Who says this isn’t the DaddyTips age of having your cake and eating it too?)

On January 23, 2014, three days ago, NASA launched a Next-Generation Relay Satellite. No, not Star Trek: The Next Generation. Something real. The TDRS-L Satellite. Launched by NASA. Frickin’ NASA! And they broadcast the launch live on Ustream! And I didn’t even know! (The video is archived and embedded above. I was wrong. The video embedded above appears to be NASA’s live Ustream channel. Sorry. Here is a link to the video of the launch.)

Nobody cares. Why doesn’t anyone care? We should really care about this a lot more than we do.

Why should we care?

Well, for one thing, news about space travel is a hell of a lot more interesting than news about Miley Ray Cyrus Hannah Montana Stewart Lipschutz and other celebrities. Granted, the fact that Hugh Jackman is not dating Miley Cyrus is a very important thing to know. (That was back in 2009. Pretty sure it’s still not true.) But the possibility of visiting or even viewing other galaxies is much more important.

We should also care because as anyone who reads/watches science fiction knows, odds are good that we are eventually going to need another planet upon which to put all of our stuff, not to mention resources for all of the new people who keep being born. (Check out the awesome Joss Whedon series Firefly — which you can watch via Amazon Prime for free — for a good example of this notion.) If that sounds silly or alarmist, OK. I think it’s plausible.

If nothing else, space travel news is fascinating. There are people living in space right now. RIGHT NOW. On the International Space Station. NOBODY CARES! That’s not entirely fair. Some people care. But in general we don’t care nearly as much as we should. And that caring should translate to sharing. Like, do some Liking of NASA stories on Facebook. Maybe we can organize a NASA satellite launch party where we all get together and watch NASA shoot stuff into outer space. At school, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we would watch the Space Shuttle launches and landings. They would wheel in a TV and we’d all watch excitedly as a SPACE SHIP WENT INTO SPACE. Now we watch other people play video games on YouTube. Seriously. Is anyone getting what I’m saying here?

I’m going to do my part to care more about the space program. You do your part as well. Let’s start with trying to give more of a shit about space travel. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Maybe that’ll lead to actually giving more of a shit, which could lead to actually paying attention when there is cool space travel news.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone, in case that’s not obvious. I love science-fiction. I need to invest more of my mental energy into science-fact.

WATCH LIVE NOW: NASA Launching Next-Gen TDRS-L Relay Satellite Tonight, Liftoff Set for 9:33 p.m. ET | Space.com. (Note: it’s not live anymore. It already happened.)

See also: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Battlestar Galactica, and of course Star Trek, The Original Series. Those things aren’t real though. NASA totally is.

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