Sunday, July 13, 2008

Aldrin blames Sci-fi for lack of space interest!

From Sci-fi via IO9 : It would seem the esteemed Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. told SCI FI Wire that fantastic space science fiction shows and movies are, in part, responsible for the lack of interest in real-life space exploration among young people.


"I blame the fantastic and unbelievable shows about space flight and rocket ships that are on today," Aldrin said in an interview, "All the shows where they beam people around and things like that have made young people think that that is what the space program should be doing. It's not realistic."

Tell me it isn't true Buzz say it ain't so!

Aldrin Slams SF's Effect On Space [Scifi Wire]


Shaun A. Saunders said...

I disagree entirely, as did Arthur C. Clarke, who said:

"I'm sure we would not have had men on the Moon if it had not been for Wells and Verne and the people who write about this and made people think about it. I'm rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books."

A similar sentiment applies to Heinlein's fiction. Indeed, Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder of the Ansari X prize, had his own copy of 'The Man Who Sold The Moon' shipped as cargo aboard SpaceshipOne when it made its prize wining flight in 2004...

wolfkahn said...

Before commenting, I want say that I still consider Aldrin a hero.

OK, enough niceness. He clearly clueless here. "the fantastic and unbelievable shows ... on today" Has he been in cave since Verne shot people to the Moon from a cannon? Since the pulp era of the 30-50s? Since Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon? Since the 50's sci-fi movie boom? WTF?

Try to find a single hardcore "Trekkie" who doesn't support NASA - is there even one? Now find a non-SF fan who is opposed to NASA - it won't take very long.

The current relative lack of interest in the space program is due the public relations failings of the space program. NASA quit sending people to new frontiers, using robotic missions instead. This increased the scientific return, but bored the heck out of non-science geeks (I'm not bored, but I'm weird).

If a NASA satellite discovers proof of a new type of dark matter and the general public will yawn. Put a person on Mars or Ceres and the general public will be thrilled regardless of how little science they actually do.

It's why we need two NASA programs. One for science, one for excitement.

Shaun A. Saunders said...

Good points Wolfkahn - I would add that we need private ventures into Space, and that those will fill the large vacuum left by NASA

Paul said...

you know you can take the astronaut out of nasa but you cant take nasa out of the astronaut. I think Aldrin's major problem is Nasa myopia. The reason the general public is disinterested in Nasa is that Nasa is the world's worst a PR. Take a look at their news feed areas. Nasa scientists might be able to glean info from them, but the average person would be mystified. This is nothing new for Nasa either. In the seventies mission control crews were so embarrassed by the tv coverage that they didn't even tell the crews as early as Apollo 13 that no one was listening. I have often wondered if they were this bad at self promotion on purpose. There is something to be said for post 9/11 paranoia - but when the general public knows whos in the latest big brother house as opposed to what crafts are presently working on Mars is not the Sci-fi channel's fault, it's Nasas