SpaceX (The Final Frontier: Big Science – Big Money)


Like in a bad science fiction, private corporations with names like XCOR, Virgin Galactic, Space Adventurs, SpaceX are planning to finance commercial space travel and other entrepreneurial interests. You can read about it at in this week’s Science Times

Movie stars and other celebrities pay obscene amounts of money to joyride. The American taxpayers “chip in.” Nobody’s regulating anything. There’s no ethical oversight. Executives roll in huge profits until the program goes bust. Just reading the article between the lines, and you might wonder if it’s already shaping up to be gross and full of cant, and grubby high-tech all the way down and all the way up.

I can’t wait for the cool space stations, Martian colonies, cheesy corporate logos, unctuous promotionals, lies and lies and more lies, mining interests, new markets, oligarchs, monotones, shady financial interests, wooly eyed enthusiasts, apocalyptic catastrophists (!), tight fitting onesies, hot neutered astronauts, booster technologies, system failures, space junk, catastrophic episodes, robotics, drones, probes, androids, uppity computers, bacteriological blowback, and planetary mayhem.

I’ll admit I think this is all pretty cool, but for purely terrestrial reasons I still hope this turns out to be unfeasible. It’s not the science that bothers me. It’s the big money that always buys the big science, and the big inequality that is inseparable from the big money that is going to be necessary to pay for it. Not that I have an informed opinion. I just don’t trust any of people who have one, not the techies and not their corporate backers. For now, I’m rooting for the alien predators.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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