NASA’s mission is not safety, says Rand Simberg, and I agree 200%. The money quote:
The surest way to make sure our astronauts don’t die in space is to keep them on the ground. And indeed, that is more and more what we do, choosing robotic exploration over opening the frontier to humanity.
The obsession with safety is sincere, if unspoken, testimony to just how unimportant we consider the opening of that final and harshest of frontiers. The last time space was important was when we were racing the Soviets to the moon more than four decades ago. Now, we no longer consider it worth the risk.
And I can’t decide whether this is sad or infuriating. I grew up reading science fiction in which, at the very least, human beings had actively colonized every rock in the solar system — and that is the future I want, damn it!