Monday, October 29, 2012

Austrian BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner leaps from the Red Bull Stratos space capsule to begin his 4-minute, 20-second freefall on October 14, 2012.
Red Bull

Felix Baumgartner: He's No Neil Armstrong... So yesterday, I read on two other blogs (AmericaSpace and @SarcasticRover) that Felix Baumgartner, still bathing in the spotlight after his historic 'spacedive' 15 days ago, isn't a huge fan of the Mars Science Laboratory mission (a.k.a. the Curiosity rover)...or NASA in general. For someone who constantly pushed the envelope in terms of what a human was physically capable of doing out in the unknown, Baumgartner is apparently one of those narrow-minded, "Will someone PLEEEAASE think of the children?!"-spouting cynics who think we shouldn't be pushing the envelope in terms of what mankind can learn about the universe and how far we can explore beyond our own world. Instead of developing and launching missions such as the Curiosity rover, which has so far been performing flawlessly since arriving at the Red Planet on August 5, Baumgartner thinks we should focus our attention only on Earthly matters—such as buying mosquito nets for people living in Africa. Well okay, the mosquito net idea came from actor Ashton Kutcher...who in 2008 made the same foolish comments about (not) exploring Mars. And just like Kutcher, who obviously is enjoying the wads of cash he's earning from past and present TV shows he starred in (such as That 70's Show and Two and a Half Men), Baumgartner is clearly making lots of dough pulling off death-defying stunts at the behest of Red Bull, the energy drink company. Unless they're doing so already, it seems like it didn't occur to Kutcher and Baumgartner to use their own wealth to help folks living in Third World countries instead of making the same tired remarks about a government agency whose funding only accounts for less than one percent of the overall U.S. federal budget.

So basically, I'm disappointed that Baumgartner is obviously not a new figurehead for space exploration (or at least space-related endeavors) just like the late Neil Armstrong has been since July of 1969. Oh well. One last thing: What the heck is an Austrian national doing b*tching and whining about where the money of American taxpayers is going? Mind your own friggin' business, European.

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