Friday, October 9, 2009

Bombing the Moon for Fun and Profit

I loved today's moon mission attempting to find water by dropping a missile near the pole! I've been disappointed ever since Apollo that we didn't pursue a moon base and realize the importance of a permanent human footprint on the Moon, instead of just a shoeprint.

I watched the gab on the news shows as the missiles struck and they all talked about being disappointed that there was no plume, and lost expectations and what a failure it must have been, etc, blah blah blah. What did they want? Krakatoa erupting before their very eyes?

These turkeys have no idea what astronomy and astrophysics is. They've been watching too much Star Wars and CSI. Somehow they think that scientists really do have computers where you press a button and a 3D image of the brain they just scanned rotates around in front of them, showing where the lesions are. Or grabbing a cheap image off an ATM surveillance camera and managing to magically regenerate the focus of a black spot driving by at 40 miles an hour into a recognizable face.

We're starting to believe our own hype. Special effects in SF at least say 'its the future' but in crime dramas and military shows, they expect you to believe they actually have this far out equipment. It sets reality up to be a real let down.

What the general public needs to remember is that astronomy includes a healthy dose of imagination. Flights of fancy into the improbable where we dream about future reality. Today's demonstration was for NASA to learn, not for the public to get a YouTube rush and then go back to dancing hamsters and fish that sing pop tunes, forgetting completely that this was the friggin' Moon, man and we are looking for ways to survive there!.

As SF writers and dreamers, we need to lower expectations of the visible and inspire the imagination for the possible. It'll make it easier for the public who want the spectacular or nothing at all to realize that what happened today was spectacular.

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