Space Advocacy By Space Advocates Is A Failure

Red planet rumble, The Space Review

"If somebody was scoring this debate, giving a point for each well-supported argument, deducting a point for each weak one, and subtracting multiple points every time somebody conceded the other side's argument, then Mars One lost it hands down. Not only did Barry Finger admit that MIT's technical analysis and criticism was mostly right, but Lansdorp also admitted that their 12-year plan for landing humans to Mars by 2027 is mostly fiction. Furthermore, Lansdorp acknowledged that he pretty much twists the truth into a pretzel for potential investors when he tells them he knows how to do it and how much it will cost. He doesn't have a clue."

Harnessing The Martian, The Space Review

".. [The Martian] will soon provide a tremendous opportunity particularly to space advocates to extend that excitement to the general population and to engage broad public support for sending human missions to Mars in the near future. The space advocacy community has tried valiantly to promote that goal through other recent films, such as Interstellar and Gravity. However, while those films were certainly entertaining, neither one aligned very well with our space exploration aspirations."

Keith's note: The space advocacy community - especially the human-oriented subset thereof - seems to be unable to discern bad rocket science from science fiction. On one hand so many of their kind believe in a marketing effort (Mars One) with no real technical plan as if it were real because ... well ... because they believe in anything that has to do with their destiny in space. On the other hand when several space-themed movie blockbusters really get the public's attention the same space advocates whine when America doesn't rush to embrace their own peculiar space exploration notions and blame the movie's scripts for not being in precise tune with the niche views of the true space believers.

Given the chronic inability for the space advocacy community to gain any real traction for their "space exploration aspirations" it is quite clear that whatever they have been doing for decades is really not working. Nor is it going to start working any time soon. If all anyone in the space advocacy community can think of doing involves adoring lame PR Mars mission stunts and grabbing the coat tails of sci fi flicks in hope of sniffing the fumes of the film's success, then I fear there is very little of true substance for space advocates to actually be advocating.

But there is hope. While the human spaceflight subset of the space advocacy community continues to leap mindlessly at every shiny new space thing - with little success, the robotic subset of the space faithful are quietly flying an increasing number of small satellites - in outer space. In so doing they are slowly building a ever-broadening cadre of people - a group that often includes people from outside the band of usual suspects you'd expect to be doing space stuff. These are the sorts of people that space advocates routinely ignore. As a result of these smallsat projects an increasing diverse number of people can now say "yes, I flew something in space".

In many ways space advocates block more access to space than they facilitate due to the the stereotypes that they perpetuate and the population sectors they ignore. If space advocates want to spark a space revolution then they need to forget about all the space evangelism crap and just put actual space access into the hands of everyday citizens. Once people get interested - if they get interested, that is - they'll know what to do when they want more of it.

By the way: if NASA expects to be able to generate and then maintain the multi-decade political and financial juggernaut needed for their #JourneyToMars they ought to be paying very close attention to the limitations of space advocates and the vast untapped potential resident within everyone else.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 18, 2015 11:07 PM.

Important Golf in Space Announcement from CASIS (Update) was the previous entry in this blog.

#whyspacematters Does Not Seem to Matter is the next entry in this blog.

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