- Press Release
- Dec 1, 2022
Wayne Hale’s NASA Blog: Point, Counterpoint
Coming back from vacation, my email and real mail boxes are stuffed. One internet article that several folks forwarded to me came up several times. At the surface, it was suggested that this is a counterpoint to my last post about the Chinese navy in the 15th century.
I strongly encourage you to read this article by John Derbyshire. I found it a very interesting read. Here is the link and I encourage you to read it yourselves:
Now, having read Mr. Derbyshire’s article, I think that he is right on the mark. In fact, I think we even agree at a very significant level.
My analysis comparing space to exploration in the 15th century is summed up this way: “Over the next centuries, the European countries repeatedly decided to go forward, by fits and starts . . . into the world for trade, treasure, discovery, and glory. They immersed the west in new ideas, new technologies, and new innovations. . . . The Chinese course lead inexorably to stagnation, then dissolution, then decay, and finally to destruction.”
Mr. Derbyshire’s conclusion is that “The lawyerly mandarins of the Obama administration have no interest in science or in imaginative enterprises of any kind, . . . Perhaps our country . . . is in for a few centuries of introverted, creativity-free stagnation under bossy literati, until something unexpected comes banging on the door to wake us from our opium dreams.”
So we both see the same consequences of terminating our exploration. All that we have done to date will be pointless, left without even suitable monuments for future generations to wonder at. Only those bold and persistent enough to build on the past explorations will reap the transforming benefits.
Stopping now would put the United States on the ash heap of history, just like those Chinese who burned their fleet six centuries ago.
I hope we choose a vibrant future full of exploration, development, innovation, creativity, and unfathomable economic growth. I want to avoid centuries of opium dreams where the rest of the world passes us by.