Monday, August 06, 2012

Nerd Heroes

I love science, but I am not a knee-jerk defender of the space program. In some cases, we overspend for the public relations of space-based research that takes away real resources from working scientists who could have done more science with it. But then there are times when the pr is worth it. At the exact midpoint of the Olympics, when we worship the feats of the body, here suddenly we are celebrating a tremendous accomplishment of the human mind. We have been lauding Michael Phelps and Gabby Douglas, watching them cry joyfully at their achievements, but it was just as moving to see the NASA engineers in triumphant ecstasy as Curiosity landed safely. They did it, they really did it. We have for a brief moment new nerd heroes. It is always cool to be a jock, but we need to step back and truly appreciate these moments when we rally around our geeks. Well done, NASA folks, well done.