I was thinking the same thing as Dave was when he wrote “Moon Missions.” It was: weren’t those guys lucky to have participated in the space program. Sure, they took a risk (a known risk), and they ended up paying for it with their lives. However, they accomplished something that so few of us will ever get to do. Would I take a 2% risk (there is probably a higher risk if the right statistical approach is used) of catastrophic failure to go to space? In a NY minute. After listening to the relatives of the astronauts that died on STS-107, one thing stands out: its clear both they and the astronauts knew the risk involved and accepted it as part of doing something that was truly exceptional. A true hero mindset.
There is something we can do to help make going to space both safer and more economical: build a new space transportation system with modern technology. The shuttle was designed with early 1970’s technology. There is reason to speculate that we have made as much technological and scientific progress in the last 25 years than we had made in all the years before that. Our inability to find it in our national will to apply that new technology to one of the few great human endeavors continues to astound me. [John Robb’s Radio Weblog]