This video is but a portion of the fascinating press conference held by the Mars Inspiration Team last Wedsnesday. My favorite part was Dennis Tito, who made an important point regarding naysayers who complain not about legit mission feasibility concerns, but who labor under the misconception this is driven by raw greed:
"This is not a commercial mission. This not a mission that if it's successful, I'll come out to be a lot wealthier ... let me guarantee you: I will come out a lot poorer as a result of this mission. But my grandchildren will come out a lot wealthier, through the inspiration that this will give them."I understand the resentment some billionaires have rightfully earned with us progressives, but those are not the same people! The men and women funding these commercial space efforts are indeed mostly zillionaires and/or super successful capital venture investors, like Elon Musk, Esther Dyson, or Richard Garriot. Many of whom I would guess probably lean -- if they give a hoot about politics at all -- more toward the more progressive side.
But the ultra successful have access to investments far more reliable and with potentially far greater returns than pie-in-the-sky space mining or solar power stations. Plus they already have enough dough to spend their remaining lives in a Vegas penthouse suite wading up to their hips in whatever decadent pleasure floats their luxury yacht. They could fund a dozen conservative PACS or throw their lot in with the Kochtapus think-tank complex. The fact is they are not motivated by raw greed or a lust for power. They are motivated by moving energy production and other industries off the earth, sparing our over burdened world future scars and toxins. And they are deeply driven, down to the last man and woman, with concern over the long term survival of the all species on earth, including us. Now I ask you, does that sound like the kind of people we want on our side or not?
- The Mars Inspiration homepage is here.
- I'll post a science-y article tomorrow inspired in part by my sister: a special ed teacher whose degree cost many times what she earns in a year. Last week she was beaten and nearly crippled for life protecting other children from a mentally disabled student. She did not "milk it" for days off or damages as the usual cynics would glibly predict. My sister reported to work the very next morning, crutches under arm, a smile on her face, and ready to take care of "her kids," including the one who caused her injuries.
- The good and the bad of clean tech investors.
- And speaking of space, the sequester may damage our space program -- along with everything else, which is I guess the whole point for the usual suspects -- but it couldn't prevent this from happening yesterday:
SpaceX successfully launched its third flight to the International Space Station this morning carrying more than 1,200 pounds of cargo as part of the company’s ongoing orbital trucking contract with NASA. This morning’s launch was the first daytime launch of the Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral, with the liftoff taking place at 10:10 AM EST.