Alright, so today I’ll be sharing my final thoughts on this dummy up here – Felix Baumgartner – and his recent, idiotic thoughts on Mars, NASA, and planetary exploration in general – which you can find in The Telegraph – right here: http://soc.li/AYodv5R
As a warning – things will possibly get ranty, and unresearched, and maybe I’ll shake my fist like an old man. I don’t know
Click through to read more…
“A lot of guys they are talking about landing on Mars,” he said. “Because [they say] it is so important to land on Mars because we would learn a lot more about our planet here, our Earth, by going to Mars which actually makes no sense to me because we know a lot about Earth and we still treat our planet, which is very fragile, in a really bad way.
So I think we should perhaps spend all the money [which is] going to Mars to learn about Earth. I mean, you cannot send people there because it is just too far away. That little knowledge we get from Mars I don’t think it does make sense.”
Those are the words of one Felix Baumgartner, a grown man who has, most recently, become famous for setting the record for the world’s highest skydive and also for breaking the sound barrier with his stupid head. He is a daredevil, a person who for the last 10 years has been paid by Red Bull to jump off and out of things for no other reason than to promote an energy drink.
That is his contribution to the world. He’s a marketing tool. And I use the word ‘tool’ quite rightly.
Now, because of his status as a corporate whore with no abilities beyond obeying the law of gravity and jumping out of things in spite of all evolutionary impulses to the contrary, it would and should be easy to ignore his rantings about space travel and science as the fatuous insanity of a man who lacks the common sense to stay in an airplane – but Felix is a special case.
Felix here has made himself a hero – not just of ordinary thrill-seekers or people who like to not watch others die a horrible death – he made himself a hero of the scientific community, or aerospace professionals, of nerds, of geeks, of nerdy geeks and of their asthmatic children.
He has made himself a person of influence among a great many groups – and now he has decided to stab a great many of them in the back, and he has done it under a Deathly-Hallowsesque invisible cloak of environmentalism and accompanied by the cry of TAXES!
And that shit cannot stand.
To begin with, Baumgartner says that… “A lot of guys they are talking about landing on Mars… because we would learn a lot more about our planet here, our Earth, by going to Mars.”
Yes, and those “guys” who are saying that – they’re called f–king scientists and NASA researchers and engineers and climatologists and geologists and chemists. They are people who know WTF they’re talking about.
Unlike Felix, who goes on to say… “[this] actually makes no sense to me because we know a lot about Earth and we still treat our planet, which is very fragile, in a really bad way.”
I’ve read that last bit a hundred times, and I still can’t see how that makes any sense. As far as I can tell – those are the words of a child trying to win a beauty pageant, not of a scientist and not of a man who should be talking about Mars.
Felix goes on to talk about how Mars is a waste of money because we can’t send people there, and because it’s paid for by tax money, and because the knowledge we get from Mars doesn’t “make sense” somehow, and lastly because of the environment.
Screw this idiot.
NASA funding has been slashed and cut to shreds over the past 12 years, reduced to a fraction of what it once was – and all under the guise of saving taxpayers money. That is nonsense. It’s shortsighted, and purely and completely wrong.
The money that the US Government pays into NASA is an investment in the future and in the present. That money didn’t just get shot out of a cannon – it went to buy things, it went into the economy, into goods and services and manufacturing and research and into jobs – which are very much needed.
NASA employs over 18,000 people – plus contractors and others who depend on NASA operations for their livelihood. The Mars Curiosity mission alone accounts for 7,000 jobs over the last 8 years. That’s not wasted money – it’s money spent on people and on society and on a strong economy.
NASA missions also result in technological advances like satellites, GPS, improved breast cancer screening, weather forecasting, parachutes for Airforce pilots, clean lithium batteries and advances in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Furthermore, NASA funding pays for actual science, for research and data collection – and this is science that cannot be done anywhere else or by anyone else.
What Felix and others always fail to grasp is that money spent like this is an investment in our future – it’s the infrastructure that we will build tomorrows society on, and to short change our investment in that tomorrow now will leave us with nothing. It’s ridiculous.
There is so much to be learned from Mars. So much. From what the beginnings of life might have looked like, to how different atmospheres affect survivability. Mars can teach us about the formation of planets and magnetic fields, what solar radiation does to a world and how to mitigate its effects. Mars can teach us about geology under unique circumstances, the history of the solar system and where we fit in it.
And the most important thing we will learn from Mars is probably something we’re not even looking for. Because that’s how science works. You go because you want to know something, and while you’re there, you try to learn everything.
Planetary exploration is the search for questions we aren’t smart enough to ask yet.
I’m going to wrap up soon – but I do want to make one point when it comes to Felix’s mad passionate sexy love for the environment.
Baumgartner works for Red Bull, an Austrian “drink” company. Red Bull spends $300,000,000 every year on sports marketing. That’s three hundred million on sponsoring sports and daredevil bullshit. And yet I don’t hear Felix bitching one iota about Red Bull not spending that huge amount of money on the environment… except for one instance – when they were forced to:
In 2009 Red Bull was fined $448,400 for failing to recover and recycle packaging waste over eight years between 1999 and 2006, and for failing to register with the Environment Agency in London as a producer of packaging waste. That was a record fine, by the way – half a million dollars.
So maybe Felix should check with the people that have owned him – lock, stock, and barrel – for the past 10 years about how much he’s allowed to care for the environment before he starts complaining that good people doing important work are somehow less helpful to the future sustainability of the planet than a jackass falling from a balloon.
I’m nearly done.
The people at NASA that I’ve talked to – they are all remarkable and inspiring individuals. They have devoted their education and lives to finding the answers to big important questions, to exploring and asking and learning and doing – and they are doing it FOR US. So we can get on with making money and watching movies and being dummies most of the time. NASA is advancing humanity by leaps and bounds and they’re doing it, seemingly in spite of us. They’re doing it because they love it, because it drives them. They do it because it is what they were born to do.
And for someone like Felix – a man who has built his fame on the technological and scientific barriers torn down by NASA over the last 50 years – for that man of all people to turn around and question the value of these amazing people and their scientific contribution, to question the necessity of their jobs and their life’s work – when he himself has done nothing but fall and temporarily not die… is disgusting.
He is a joke. Worse than that, he’s a joke badly told by a bitter man who doesn’t even like the sound of laughter.
And I wish him well in all his future endeavours.
End of rant.
Now let’s all go do a science to clean out our mouths.