After driving through an hour of cornfields, you passed the suburbs with fancy department stores, followed by the extreme poverty of East St. Louis, and then the city itself. A gauntlet of polar opposites before you even arrived.
The recent accidents at Virgin Galactic and Orbital Sciences have stimulated an important discussion not only for space exploration, but also for our national economic future: What level of risk are we willing to accept in order to advance technology and exploration?
Christopher Nolan's first film since the massive success of his Dark Knight Trilogy is a big movie about the future with with big ambitions, big themes, big images, and big questions about human nature, time, and president-day attitudes and policies. Or lack of same.
Obama is far too smart a man to remain in denial. And far too smart not to know, for this Veterans Day, the consequences of his decisions with regard to U.S. military and covert interventions around the world.
Our earliest astronauts were test pilots; their selection followed strict criteria of age, gender, and flight experience that severely limited participation. Are we in danger of creating another exclusive group of spacefarers?
So what would a Bollywood movie set on Mars be like? Pretty much what most earth-bound Bollywood movies are like (although to be fair, the industry has come a long way), and it goes something like this.
We needed this break between Apollo program and current missions to send humans to Mars, for three big reasons.
Make no mistake: life on Mars is not little green men. If life exists, it is bacteria that make their living off the sparse Martian environment. If it exists, Martian life will probably remind us of organisms that live deep in frozen lakes in Antarctica.
I'm not sure even Mother Teresa or Gandhi could crack the top-tier of this list. I'm thinking Mars One is looking for far more than qualified and intrepid space explorers; they're looking for super heroes -- or at least the super heroic.
It has been over 45 years since the first Moon landing. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins made a journey for the ages as the Apollo 11 mission rocketed humans to another world. But, what have we done lately?
An ambitious campaign by the space fundraising group Uwingu starts today that will allow participants to beam a message to Mars.
I realized how easily we immerse ourselves in our own disciplines and envelop ourselves in our own values, and that exiting these self-imposed and limiting confines is key to understanding and propelling ourselves toward any future -- especially the one we humans envision on Mars.
Life on Mars is inevitable. Now, such a statement may sound audacious, farfetched, and maybe even just a little bit crazy. It might be viewed as being just a wild prognostication about finding extraterrestrial microbial life on Mars - but it is based firmly in the realm of reality.
The girl who'd thrust her hand high in the air when the red planet was offered up to the group claimed Mars. "Why did you want to be Mars?" I asked her afterwards. I was not prepared for her unabashed reply: "I like pink. It was closest to pink."
I met three impressive Mars One women last weekend: Kenya Armbrister, Blake Bevin, and Megan Kane. These women are determined. They are distinctive in the skills and knowledge they'd bring to Mars. They are fun to talk to -- smart, personable, and lively. I'd go to Mars in a heartbeat with any or all of them.
One sign we're on our way not just to visit, but to colonize, Mars is that people are talking about what sort of governance the first settlers will implement and adhere to.