Watched Space X launch a Falcon Nine rocket into space today with 10 satellites to deploy and watched as they landed the first stage on a drone ship landing pad. I started to wonder what had happened to the optimism from science fiction from my youth. Why is it 2017 and commercial space launches are just starting? How did the world turn its back on science and space? How did the politicians end up controlling everything?
I want flying cars, jet packs, cities in the sky, vacations to the moon or mars. I think the start was the ban the bomb movements in the 60’s. The true believers wanted the bomb to go back into the box and they were scared that the world as we know it would end. They fought and gained political power getting countries that had the bomb to stop others from getting them. Part of this was to make it very difficult to develop atomic power. Radiation was to be feared and the public needed to be protected from those unseen rays. So we never got commercial use small nuclear reactors nor powerful atomic batteries. The fuel source with the highest density was feared, banned and limited.
Then the world focused fear on population with images of mass starvation as the world ran out of food and whole populations would starve. We had images of African nations with children looking like stick figures as different nations went through droughts or internal wars.
In the 70’s the fear was climate change and how we were all going to freeze to death as glaciers took over the world. The 80’s big business taking over the world. Political parties everywhere seem to form around these fears to gain power. The newest is of course Global Warming. The green parties of the world have combined anti-globalization of big business, anti-fossil fuel use (because they think CO2 is a bad thing for the world and the cause of warming), they are also anti-nuclear. They seem to think that geothermal, wind, wave and solar will save the world and stop all that nasty CO2. They utilize NIMBY (Not in my backyard)sentiment to block oil use and pipelines and then think that these same people will let them use FF( Fossil Fuel) to make solar panels, windmills, block off ocean passes for some untested power from the waves and tide not to mention drilling deep holes in the earth to get enough heat to run steam turbines to produce electrical power.