NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had its annual Open House event this past weekend. It was gratifying to see how packed it was – that so many people were inspired by science to head out to the West Coast, La Cañada Flintridge campus several miles north of Hollywood on a weekend. However, as I navigated the crowds and looked at the gadgets on display, it struck me how sad it was that now the Shuttle program is reduced to a terrestrial tourist attraction, our government has all but abandoned the space race.
There were a lot of satellites, robots and assorted landers on display, but without people it has all the excitement of sending a Kenwood Chef into space.
Like the Kenwood Chef, I’m sure these machines can multi-task and do lots of really cool things, but sending them into space isn’t going to inspire humanity like the Apollo and Shuttle missions did.
Is it just me, or does this blinged out, gold foil covered satellite look like it has eyes, a nose, and a silly hat? At least we’re sending something with a face into space!
Q: Why did the rover cross the road?
A: Because NASA doesn’t have the funds to send it into space.