It would be an understatement to say that this was anticlimactic to the Internet bubbleheads who whined and bitched in the buildup to the LCROSS impact. The much anticipate collision sure wasn't the exploding moon so dramatically illustrated in the "Time Machine" remake in 2002, or the late 1970s sci-fi soap opera "Space 1999." Reality sucks.
I have lamented in previous blogs about how science illiterate and frivolous our culture has become. This was dramatically demonstrated in some of the public reactions to the LCROSS. It shocked and saddened me.
NASA, once the crowning jewel of American technological prowess and scientific boldness, was lambasted in blog after blog as extravagant, paramilitary, and arrogant. That's because in our Bart Simpson culture being stupid is cool and smart is, er, being "stupid."
Pop culture portrays scientists as geeks to be distrusted. Some people are so fearful of science they respond to it purely with doubt and ridicule. That is, except when geeks can engineer IPods and IPhones - which only work because some eggheads a century ago invented quantum physics.
Some of the most caustic comments I've seen:
What difference does the result make anyway? Does it have the potential to stop global warming, or something?
NASA geeks think we should all pay for their cool firecrackers in space.
It's time to pull the plug on NASA; they can all go home and play with their slide rules.
This is horrible and irresponsible and beyond dangerous. And all for, what, WATER!
Add to this the ongoing ridicule from those journalism flunky bloggers who find NASA a high-visibility target to go after for relentless accusations of government secrecy, cover-up, and excesses. These pundits will now blame NASA for hyping public expectations prior to the lackluster moon smashup. And, if the collision had been a phenomenal fireworks show, these same people would have accused NASA of failing to get the public engaged.
Even worse is the mawkish environmentalism some chat board discussions tried to graft onto space exploration. Many folks assumed NASA was sending nukes to the moon in violation of the 1967 U.N. Outer Space Treaty, not to mention the "natural laws" of the universe. So they got all huffy-puffy about our "right" to "despoil" other worlds.