Who's a big boy?

"Who's a big boy?"

The Endeavour space shuttle fly-over the bay last Friday was super exciting. Not man on the moon exciting, but still pretty impressive. It was a relic of ancient times piggybacking on a plane. And by ancient times, we mean 20 years ago. Seeing the colossus made us think: when will we see the Endeavour of our generation?

Endeavour was the last space shuttle built by NASA. It is from a bygone era of government dedication to space exploration and science. The space program was the epitome of blatantly inefficient spending, and yet, it was one of the greatest uses of money. It captured the imaginations of millions and inspired innovation in laboratories across the globe. It led to the creation of new polymers and telecommunications devices. It took away some of the mystery of the big blue sky. But most importantly, it led kindergartners to draw spaceships with crayons and made them dream of becoming astronauts.

Now we have the opportunity to take to the heavens again. Mars is our frontier. When the space program was closed — back in 2011 — the Investor’s Business Daily poll showed that 56% of Americans opposed the ending of the manned space exploration program. So of course, the lovely people in charge closed the program. read more »

First, we helped develop the first atomic bomb, then we broke records for harboring concerned citizens in our trees for almost two years, and now Berkeley will partner with NASA in a mission to Mars. You can see the upward progression.

The mission, called the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) will study the planet’s climate history in an effort to understand how its once warm, wet and dense atmosphere came to dry up and become cold, rather like a middle-aged woman, actually. read more »