Anyway, with our budget cuts to NASA, we're scaling back on the fancy things:
NASA made history today, launching humanity's first Lego figurines into space.So, when we first starting sending probes out into space, we put on them selected recordings of our most advanced science and engineering (the probes themselves), mathematics (we managed not to crash into anything!), music, literature, languages and bits and pieces of our culture. Presumably, anyone who ran into one of our probes would know we're not that advanced what with, you know, Voyager 1 and I being born at the same time, and this many years later we're all of about 16.25ish light-hours from each other. This guesstimate is based on reports from V-ger 1's little sister, Voyager 2 (@Voyager2), who is a tattletale about what all V-ger gets up to. Now we're sending up children's toys played with by adults, handed to our (presumably) most prestigious send-stuff-in-to-space people on the planet to strap in and bid a fond farewell to.
The upshot is that it's of some gods, and we could definitely use fewer of those. It's possible, one notes, that anyone who runs into it might be scared off by the legos aboard; maybe they'll think our children are sending interstellar crafts out, and that's why their toys are inside.
So, let's look at how things have been going with our space science. A couple of years ago, the Catholic Church discovered that Earth isn't the center of the universe. Turns out that we orbit around another something in the same way that our moon orbits around us! Thank GOD the Catholics were on the case; we would have likely not found out any other way.
Anyway, the Catholics figured this out about the turn of millennium, which explains why we were launching spacecraft into orbit back in the 1960s. With people. Inside of ships named after gods. Now we've got a quantum-and-meta drama playing out all at the same time, what with the superposition of stuffing Juno inside Himself, and then bitchslapping his ass to the great garbage can in the sky, the celestial graveyard of gods: He'll take up orbit around Jupiter.
On the one hand, we have a pattern of progressively relegating our gods to less and less prominent positions of importance such that we're literally evicting them from the planet now, if only in effigy. So, that's good. On the other hand, there is trend that is less good.
As we're finding out more and more of our universe, particularly with respect to its geometry, we're learning that the universe is getting bigger all the time. By proportion, that means we're getting apparently smaller. This has, without doubt, explained why Pluto is no longer is a planet; it doesn't exist anymore, which is sad. As was projected in 1980 by Dessler and Russell, Pluto was to disappear by 1984. Their calculations were a little off, but eventually the planet disappeared. Here's a model from 1980:
little feller, but progress sometimes hurts.
On a completely unrelated note, this has massively shocked the human psyche. Unable to recover from this trauma, we're in something of a post-traumatic stress disorder where we've followed a trend of sending less and less important "things" into space. First we sent up a dog, man's best friend. Then we sent up god, man's worst enemy. Nietzche wrote about this in his history book Dog Is Dead. And the less well known sequel to it, God Is Dead. Between those, we've sent up less and less impressive and complex beings, from primates, like us, all the way down to some newts. So, we went from dog => god => astronaut => astronewt => lego-god. Our station in the universe has sunken to such a low we're sending up effigies of completely imaginary people.
And this, dear friends, is the trend of how it is we're "making history" with our space program.
I support evicting the gods. I am puzzled why we disgrace ourselves by calling the stopping of our shuttle program with no replacement program in sight, the sending up of children's toys as marking our historic advancements into exploration. Yes, it's an historic decline in prestige. But why are we advertising that like it's a good thing?
There was once a certain dignity attached to this line of work. Now NASA is becoming more and more all the time the punchline to the bad joke that is America's interest in science-leadership.
But it's okay, the Large Hadron Collider is impressive. So, at least some people on Earth are still interested in making "history" something worth writing about in hundred years time (assuming we don't get sucked into a blackhole!) I'm rather certain that the Junolego inside spacecraftJuno will be, somehow, an historic event that is rightly lost to history to all but the most geeky of future trivia nerds.
NASA, US Gov't: pull your heads out of your asses, unfuck this trend and start inspiring us again. Thanks, asshole bureaucrats.