A lot of ink was spilled recently on Wednesday’s less than dramatic announcement of President Bush’s space exploration agenda. Author and professor Paul Davies has among the most original suggestions for livening up the humans-to-Mars conversation: Send astronauts to Mars, but don’t ever bring them home. The essay was on the op-ed page of yesterday’s New York Times (Web access requires registration).
It’s not only an intriguing argument, it’s a subtle reminder how timid human exploration has become, and how differently we value different lives. Almost every week, we lose more (government deployed) soliders than we lost astronauts last February. Yet the public response, and the policy response, to those deaths is very different.