According to the 4/2/10 edition of the Washington Post, a number of school districts are on the verge of closing down their planetariums. Planetariums are structures where images of the stellar skies are recreated using assorted audio visual equipment.
Educational administrators claim that, in this era of limited budgetary resources, it costs too much to make the technological enhancements necessary to ensure a similar wow factor among the students of today accustomed to the visual wonders capable with advanced electronics. While that may be true to an extent, there is also an orientation of pedagogical methodology here that will impact generations of school children to come and possibly play a role in determining what kind of country America will become.
Constance Skelton, Science Supervisor for Arlington, Virginia schools mused according to the Washington Post, "...that while the space race provided a captivating, teachable moment for yesterday’s budding scientist, newer issues such as climate change are likely to inspire tomorrows."
So in other words, instead of encouraging young minds to marvel at the wonders of the universe, expanding the frontiers of knowledge, and increasing prosperity, students are to be conditioned into embracing the limitations decided upon for them by elites and shamed for enjoying a standard of technology beyond that utilized by the hominid apemen from the opening scenes of "2001: A Space Odyssey". This is what it means to emphasize the Ecology Age over the Space Age.
It is not reading too much into things to make such a point. It is the systematic goal of progressivist liberalism at all levels of government and culture to curtail American power and influence even if the other world powers have no intentions of abiding by such diminished expectations.
For example, the Obama administration announced in 2010 the cancellation of the Constellation program, essentially scrapping plans to return to the Moon that would have eventually established a permanent lunar base. Neither is there even much of a plan to replace America’s decommissioned space shuttle fleet.
Instead, the NASA of the 21st century will rely primarily on the Russian space service to ferry personnel and supplies back and forth to the International Space Station. No wonder that orbital port’s intended name of "Freedom" was dropped before the project even got off the ground.
Just because Obama is giddy about U.S. power and influence receding into the sunset, that doesn’t mean other nations are going to be as contented about curtailing their scope. Both China and India have aspirations about visiting the Earth’s only natural satellite.
Big deal, those with terrestrially bound imaginations might respond. Isn’t going to the Moon not much more than a photo op where astronauts do little more than plant the flag and knock a few golf balls around in microgravity?
The Moon represents much more to the planetary power willing to plant its flag there than a symbolic effort and gesture. It will be from the Moon that mankind will set sail out into the cosmos and the Moon could very well be a vital staging area for any planetary empire seeking to control or exert influence over the Earth itself.
Does anyone believe that the world will be better off with outer space under the control of the Red Chinese and Russia or rather the United States?
Whether or not school districts really have the financial resources to continue their planetarium programs is not the primary issue. What should concern every American is that such a reason would be invoked to justify dismantling imagination and thus the opportunities of future generations.
By Frederick Meekins