Farewell, Space…At Least For Now

I woke to this depressing news this morning: The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today announced who will chair its subcommittees in the 114th Congress.   Ted Cruz (R-TX) will chair the subcommittee that oversees NASA, while Marco Rubio (R-FL) will chair the one with jurisdiction over NOAA.

I don’t make a lot of political posts here, although those of you who know me have a pretty clear idea of where my beliefs lie. I don’t think that science is scary or knowledge is bad. I don’t think that climate change is a lie or a hoax. I don’t believe in hating anything or anyone different from myself. I believe in science (which conflicts in no way with my belief in magic), and from the time I was a very small girl I’ve had a passion for space travel. I totally and completely believed that it would happen in my lifetime. That hasn’t exactly happened, but I still want to believe that it will. We need that dream, it is important to all of us as human beings.

There is a phenomenon called The Overview Effect, which Wikipedia describes as: ‘a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface. It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, astronauts claim, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.’

The conflicts that divide people become less important when you start thinking globally rather than on a very micro level (people who vote the same way that I do, people who follow the same religion as I, people who fit my extremely narrow world view). We need this so badly.

Don’t take away our dreams.

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