Many decades ago, Robert A. Heinlein caught a lot of heat for cautioning that the future in space didn't have to be American -- that it could just as easily belong to China or Japan or India. Some people thought that was racist.
Not me. I think he was just stating the obvious: That there are a lot of ambitious nations out there with smart and capable people, and that if the United States turned its back on the future, the human race would go on without us. Yes, he was making an appeal to American pride. But it's Japanese and Chinese and Indian pride that fuels their space programs.
Plus, of course, the prospect of a serious slice that incredibly lucrative space industry.
Yesterday, India launched Mangalyaan, its first probe to the planet Mars. Mars is a mission-eater and no nation has successfully reached it on their first attempt. But there's a first for everything, and I think India may well break the streak.
You can read the New York Times article here.
And it's cheap! According to NPR the total budget was only $73 million. Click here to read more.
And, speaking of the glitterati . . .
I went to the Big Apple yesterday for the NYRSF Readings at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art. Reading from their works were Fran Wilde and Rajan Khanna, both of whom recently sold their first novels. Also present but not reading was Alana Teitelbaum who by coincidence also recently sold her first novel. It was good to see her again.
Above: Fran Wilde, reading.