If you want to waste about about 25 minutes of your life, you can listen to the speech that Vice President Mike Pence gave today at the Kennedy Space Center here, beginning at the 49:30 minute mark.
My advice is that you don’t do it. Pence said nothing. He handed out a lot of empty promises and cliches, without any specifics or details of any kind. He confirmed for me what I have suspected of Pence for several years, that despite the fact that he lives and breathes a conservative and honorable personal life, as a politician he is a hack.
He made a big deal about the recreation of the National Space Council, which he now leads. However, as this article by Eric Berger properly noted the people who seem to be exerting the most influence on that council, on Trump, and on Pence are from the big space companies that have spent more than a decade and a half spending about $40 billion trying to build a big rocket (SLS) to fly a single unmanned test flight of the Orion capsule.
My pessimism here might be misplaced. We still do not know who will be on this space council. Furthermore, the Trump administration has been very good at doing a lot of public relations and soft stroking of its opponents in order to put them off guard prior to hitting them hard, where it hurts. This might be what Pence was doing here.
Nonetheless, the lack of any substance in Pence’s remarks makes me fear that he will be easily influenced by the big players who simply want the federal cash cow to continue sending them money, whether or not they ever build anything.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.