Virgin, the Dynamo, and the Prize
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Environmental Editor
Wednesday 14 February 2007
Like most American kids in the 1960s, I was an avid Star Trek fan and I rooted for every new development in the US space program. I'll never forget staying up past midnight to watch Neil Armstrong take Man's first steps on the moon.
But by the time of the first shuttle disaster in 1986, I was less concerned with the Star Trek mission and more concerned with the fate of the Earth. Apart from the human tragedy of the disaster, the setback to the space shuttle program didn't seem to matter much, and the image of the Challenger flameout at 48,000 feet over Florida seemed symbolic of the utter failure of Western society to create a sustainable civilization on Planet Earth.
The recent release of the IPCC's fourth assessment on climate change is just one more milestone documenting the disintegration of Earth's planetary life-support systems. The world must act quickly, but I am not impressed by the announcement last week that Sir Richard Branson, founder of a company that is building a fleet of excursion vehicles for the space tourism market, has offered a $25 million prize for the invention of new carbon-sequestration technologies.