Monday, June 20, 2005

Solar Sailing - The New Wright Brothers

Back before Big Brother came in a crushed Ma Bell turning her into the network of less profitable Baby Bells there was a research company called "Bell Labs" that exisited for, among other business applications, pure research. Pure research is an amazing idea that was quite popular in times past but seems to have gone the way dinosaur in our age of shareholders, corporate welfare, and government oversight.

However every once in a while you read about a group of people who are in love with a concept and decide to operate outside the walls of the corporate world, and government research funding to perform research that is truly great, and truly motivated by the love of science itself. The people at the Planetary Society are one such group. Tommorow this group, which was started by the late Carl Sagan, will be likend to the Wright Brothers as they launch Cosmos 1, a solar sail craft that will be navigated for test purposes by a team here on earth.

The launch, the craft, the mission control, and all other portions of the research paid for by a network of commited donors, rather than a network of co-opted taxpayers forced by coercion to be supporters. I say Godspeed to the good people at the Planetary society. "May your journey be swift, and your treasures be great."

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