They're at it again. Y'know why you can't lease a hunting-lodge on Mars* right now? 'Cos of scary, terribilifyin' cosmic rays. See, they're like radioactive an' stuff, and accordin' to space biologists, space biology has not been given enough money to understand why and how. Why, we're relyin' on studies of atom-bomb victims, they complain. Besides: radiation. Ewww!
I'm not sure exactly how they plan to fix this by tossin' money at it. Hire winos to get irradiated? And we have a well-documented pool of experimental animals that have been out where the van Allens chill out; you may remember them as Lunar Astronauts. Surely they'd volunteer to have their medical records peeked at? A good many are former .mil, so odds are good Uncle Sam has already got their records, for no additional cost.
So-called "Cosmic Rays" are spooky: energetic particles that go zipping along and will crash right through you, leaving a tiny path of destruction, but they're not fundamentally different from the Earthbound versions. We know what they do; we know what the risks are. Spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt in a lunge for more slops from the public trough is reprehensible. Waving the "Ew, radiation" flag over it is yet another example of the fear of fire L. Neil Smith points out is a common thread in foes of firearms, internal combustion, nuclear power and smoking.
Dang, what're they gonna do when they learn the Russians have had guns, nuke plants and smoking areas on their space stations?
Much more of this and I'm gonna suggest learning Mandarin if you hope to ever visit Mars. Oh, and getting realllll comfy with Maoism and Great Leaps Forward. Or maybe Russian; they seem to understand that with progress comes risk and if they can figure out the funding, they'll give it a try.
The only way "we" are ever going to "know enough" is by going and doing. Trying to Nerf the universe is a prescription for failure.
Dark thoughts on a dark night. I've got to pull an early morning shift at the Skunk Works and it's got me simply thrilled.
* The planet's likely lifeless, you say? My fave sort of hunting: tramping about in the rough with a gun an' not havin' to dress and clean nothin'. Besides, what if there's rocklizards?
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
5 weeks ago