Thank you, Sir.
For decades of devotion to science.
For all the positive influence.
For the shining example of what a human could be, no matter his body.
There’s a probe, far away from this little planet. Named Cassini, kicked in the deep space by our fabulous friends at NASA. Its work is almost done, soon it will take its last dive into the Saturn’s atmosphere, sending data until it will be crushed.
But this is not about Cassini. No, this isn’t about NASA or the joys of deep space exploration. Maybe another time. It’s about that little white dot. For those who haven’t understood it yet, it’s the Earth. Yeah, our glorious home world, the goddamn cradle that could turn in a mass grave sooner or later.
The latest article of Lawrence M. Krauss in the New Yorker (link) is calling for a statement about the connection between science and politics. I strongly recommend reading the linked piece before going on in this post. I also would like to write that this subject is very complex and it may lead to prolonged debate.
All right, let’s go. The basic is about how much political control should be applied to scientific research, both about funding and public debate about scientific matters. In a perfect world, national governments and international agencies should prioritize a number of matters of public interest that have scientific implications and find ways to fund as much research projects they can, hoping to harvest in the near future ideas and discoveries useful to solve problems and/or to upgrade the existing industries. That may sound good as a theory. But who will be in charge to establish what to research and what not?
A few days from now, July 4th, the long journey of the NASA Juno probe will finally end with the final insertion in the orbit around the planet Jupiter. Five years after the start of this mission we will have an unprecedented choice to discover more about the biggest planet of our Solar system.
I’m a multi-genre author with a passion for science fiction. Sooner or later this kind of interest drives to space, to what a spaceship can do and to what I want to tell to my audience when it comes to describing what’s going on. So we can imagine our wonderful spaceships, use them to travel from planet to planet and make room for epic fights. Well, we can. With a bit of respect for reality.
Do you remember the first movie of the “Alien” franchise? The blurb was “In space, nobody can hear you scream”. That was a very nice movie, one of my all-time favorite. The blurb was set right, with no atmosphere there is no possible sound transmission. No screams, no engine noise, no “whoooosh” from missiles, no “zot!” from energy-based weapons. This little fact kills a lot of movies, isn’t it? There’s more on the line, with no atmosphere of sort there is no need for control surfaces. No flaps, ailerons, rudders at all. And this kills a lot of spaceship design.