Some assorted NewSpace 2013 inspired thoughts that I want to put up while they are still fresh and go into more detail in future posts:
- Public Perception/Personal Connection – as much as I would like to be wrong, I believe that a most people feel little connection to space. When they think of it, if at all, it’s all robots and telescopes and maybe a funny Canadian astronaut every once so often. Epic or useful space exploration is something that we used to do, but is a relic of the past, like knights and sailing ships. As long as these perceptions persist, it will be an uphill battle to make useful space exploration a reality.
- Related to the above, another big problem is that space isn’t sexy. Steve Jobs and Richard Feynman made Apple and Physics sexy, but we haven’t quite gotten there for space yet. This is important because in the end, nobody really supports something because of logic, but because of some baser instinct – desire for profit, inspiration, etc. – that may be supported or slightly influenced by logic.
- And related to that, I feel that many of the self-appointed ‘public ambassadors’ of the future of space exploration actually hurt the cause more than they help it. This is due both to their personal legitimacy and a propensity for the kind of bad exaggeration that leads to jadedness.
- And related to THAT, it feels like as long as we have to see human space activity as a ‘cause,’ it will be a losing battle. Someone at the conference said “if only there were a prophecy that we had to go to space.” I responded, “No, I don’t want that, I wish there were a profit-cy.” (excuse the terrible pun.)
- I’ve decided that a big deciding factor about which side of the tinfoil hat line an idea falls is the idea of Things That Do Things. I’m far more open to ideas if someone has done more than just make a pretty picture or write some words – the thing doesn’t have to do a lot, or do it well.
- Finally, what actually distinguishes a crazy-but-infeasible plan from a crazy-but-feasible plan besides post hoc success and the subsequent story? This question deserves a lot more thought.