King Log is Dead… Queen Stork?

April 27, 2009

(Adapted from a comment to the NASAWatch site in response to the Lori Garver as next NASA Administrator Rumourings)

As a fan of a British Space Program (sigh) I  rarely comment on these threads being somewhat divorced from the “ins and outs” of the American Space Political scene but simply HAD to comment on the reappearance of the oft touted “historical transportation model” used whenever access to space is discussed. That of the covered wagon and the railways that opened up the “Wild West.”
Whilst it is understandable  for Americans that the above model: filled as it is with heroic Pioneering Spirit and Righteous Stuff has its appeal but conveniently forgets that the Solutrians (nee Clovis), Vikings and entire Indian Nation got there first! With the latter being forcibly displaced by the Pioneers and layers of the Iron Road!

And if it isn’t the “Wild West” metaphor,  it’s the Founding Fathers; Mayflower; Columbus; etc.

But the time machine has to be set somewhat earlier: believe me the better transportation metaphor for Space Colonisation is the early Neolithic Hollow Log; abandoned as being too difficult to build and replaced with the fallback technology: a Big Stick. Which, by all accounts, is just too small to float us across to the next Island in Space.

Much discussion and uproar around the tribal campfires!

It would seem to this particular interloper around  [that] particular fire that we must put our differences aside with the neighbouring tribes. And, after putting out the various forest fires that seem to have started, as a community we might just yet build the next level in technological readiness: the Outrigger Canoe that colonised Polynesia!

Lots of Islands in Space!

Including the ones we build for ourselves.

However from the posturings from your tribal chiefs [insert your favorite joke about “swine fever” and earmarks here] and, even more surprisingly, the outpourings from the various clans of space enthusiasts; indicate to this layperson that there is a long way to go.

Whilst I am not as qualified to pass comment on Lori Garver as some so clearly are:
“OH PLEASE DEAR GOD, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Patrick (References please Patrick:)
I note that the other female candidate also produced a kneejerk reaction from such Steely eyed Missile Men.
In summary: You have tried professional scientists (Saganite); you have tried professional engineers (vonBraunian).  From her resume it would seem that Lori Garver has graduated ‘summa cu laude” from the O’Neillian clan. Perhaps there is a third way after all!

Another reference, to replace the “Lurking Poisons” of Graves*. Although it appears there is still some “hatching” to do.

“King stork was welcome to replace a log,
They tittered at the thrill, then hushed, agog.”

Thom Gunn “The Court Revolt” (1954).

[*A previous post to that site on the Obama Administration’s delay in appointing a new NASA Administrator. ]

Update (May 23, 2009)

Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts: General Charles Bolden, Administrator of NASA and Lori Garver, Deputy Administrator of NASA.

President Obama said, “These talented individuals will help put NASA on course to boldly push the boundaries of science, aeronautics and exploration in the 21st century and ensure the long-term vibrancy of America’s space program.”

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