Voyager 1 & Politics

Though not officially acknowledged by NASA until yesterday, Voyager 1, launched in September of 1977, likely reached interstellar space late last summer after sending back volumes of data from the outer reaches of our solar system.  Whenever that monumental event occurred, it was a testimonial to the potential achievements of humanity, even with the limited technology that was available 36 years ago.

One wonders if the cooperative spirit that fostered the American space program will resurface in our future.  For now, a small but significant segment of our society opposes any federal funding for science and education, let alone healthcare and social welfare programs.  Focused on their personal needs and freedoms, they demonstrate little if any support for scientific research; indeed, they exude distrust of all academic endeavors, viewing them as threats to their rigid and provincial belief systems.  Compromise is their enemy; intolerance is their mode of operation.

As Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, hurtle through space they carry the message of human good will to other civilizations; unfortunately, those sentiments are under attack within our own society.  Hopefully, by the time we receive the final transmissions from the Voyager probes, the political climate in America will once again embrace the value of scientific exploration.