Gil Scott-Heron’s piece seems apt for today.
Today, NASA shuts down the shuttle program indefinitely. For the last 30+ years, NASA has regaled us humble folk with tales from the moon…literally, but for most of those active years, nobody really cared. It’s harsh to think so since space travel was heralded for the longest time as the wave of the future. Astronaut was the career of choice. Establishing life on Mars was the next step for mankind.
Yes, there has been a decline in citizen interest, but it’s simply because most people are not interested in scientific discovery, be it even “the study of the effects of weightlessness on tiny screws [that] can have millions of applications here on Earth — everything from watchmaking to watch repair.”
Space travel, as you can probably guess, is expensive. The American government would invest billions of dollars every year in order to make these shuttle programs happen.
“Whitey On the Moon” came out in 1970, a year after the Americans first landed on the moon. The poem is a great socio-political critique of where governmental priorities lied at the time (and for quite some time thereafter). And though the moon landing is a nationalistic treasure and a big deal for the Americans who wanted to one-up the Russians, it still makes you think what good those billions of dollars could have accomplished elsewhere…
What do I know? I’m just Canadian. Enjoy.
Oh and 6600 employees have or will lose their jobs in a few days — that’s the biggest tragedy in shutting down the space program. Ball’s in your court, Obama.