2001: A Space Cadet
by Mark J. Mitchell
We all know the famous image from Stanley Kubrick's Classic
film, written by Arthur C. Clarke, 2001 A Space Odyssey: A
human embryo floating in space, the birth of the "Star Child."
This was supposed to be, among other things, a symbol of humanity's
connection with the Universe, the future, and our ultimate
progression toward our next evolutionary level.
Now replace that image with an aging oil tycoon in a cowboy
hat. This is the symbol for the regression of the Human Race.
Unfortunately this symbol is not brought to us through celluloid
as a possible fantastic future, it is reality.
It was only a couple of years ago that our then Vice President
Al Gore unveiled NASA's plans to build the X-33 Space Craft.
This would be the welcomed successor to the aging Space Shuttle's
1970s technology. It was to be far less expensive and far
more practical once built.
The Space Program was one of Gore's many enthusiasms. Another
was saving our planet from it's current downward spiral into
the irreversible tragedy of environmental disaster. Note:
President Bush's enthusiasms include fishing, video games,
and giving the wealthiest of Americans more money to play
with at the cost of the Public Good.
Last week the Bush administration has canceled NASA's X-33
project after over a billion dollars have been spent in its
development. Besides being too costly, the new White House
cited design difficulty. Apparently the fuel tanks have to
be built from a different type of metal than they originally
thought. This sounds like much less of a design difficulty
than having over 50 Nobel Laureates collectively state that
your project is doomed from its conception, as is the case
with the Star Wars Missile Defense System - a high priority
for the current administration.
But we still have the International Space Station. After
years of setbacks, cutbacks, and delays, the Space Station
is actually active now - A proud symbol for International
cooperation in space. However, Bush has decided it would now
be better to totally sandbag this most difficult endeavor.
He has ordered cuts that will result in a more scaled down
version of the ALREADY scaled down version of the International
Bush cuts this week are also threatening other NASA projects,
such as missions to Pluto and the Sun. So my fellow Americans,
instead of Arthur C. Clarke's vision of a "Star Child" born
in the year 2001, we have the Republican Party's birth of
the "Oil-Man." He will lead us to our destiny. Who needs the
Stars when we still have 45 years of oil left to burn?