30 October 2008
You may have heard a while back that Buzz Aldrin thinks that science fiction is the reason that kids aren’t interested in real space travel:
“I blame the fantastic and unbelievable shows about space flight and rocket ships that are on today. 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.”
He went on to praise more realistic depictions:
” [Apollo 13 and] From the Earth to the Moon. They were fascinating, because it was reality history, and reality fiction can be good if you stick to reality. But, if you start dealing with fantasy and beaming people up and down and traveling seven times the speed of light, you are doing damage. You’re not helping. You have young people who have got expectations that are far unrealistic, and you can’t possibly live up to the expectations you have created in young people. Why do they get bored with the space program? That’s why.”
It couldn’t possibly be because NASA is really terrible at conveying the excitement of its missions to the general public. In particular, NASA TV makes human spaceflight about as exciting as watching grass grow. No way, there couldn’t be a problem on NASA’s side, it must be some problem with the kids these days and their new-fangled video games and science fiction shows.
Anyway, I post this now because I came across a site with a bunch of sci-fi writers responding to Buzz’s comments. They weigh in on both sides and it makes for an interesting discussion. You should check it out.