Space Links I Found While Looking for Other Things

Are you lovelies aware of NASA's Exoplanet Travel Bureau? It's part of their Exoplanet Exploration Program. Check out the link to see travel posters for, among other exotic locales, PSO J318.5-22! I am also fond of their tagline for Kepler-16B: Where your shadow always has company.

I am loving this gradual return of interest for manned space exploration. Sure, it's impractical and wildly expensive, and if you're going to spend the money there's certainly the temptation to spend it on a robot that might do a better job. But if we're going to keep space exploration (not exploitation) moving as an endeavor, we're going to have to approach it the same way we do ecological conservation: with lots of accessible human experiences to keep things personal and inspiring to the average taxpayers.

Yes, I'm talking about space zoos (and I'm not interested in the zoos/conservation "debate." I have yet to read a convincing argument against well-designed and maintained zoos, but I am frequently accosted by online ignoramuses who want to type about the subject in all caps).

We need the massive telescopes creating photo galleries that are more beautiful than informative, and more fun audio and video from the ISS. We need affordable space tourism to let the average person look down on our big blue world. We need even more stories, in even more formats and media, about what is out there, what could be out there, and what it might mean. Because safe (well, safer) encounters with the rest of the universe is the kind of vivid reminder people need that yes, there's something more out there, and with everybody's help we can find out more cool stuff about it.

R. E. Stearns