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What next to inspire?

The challenge of building a long-lasting space ship consumed the Western World for decades – and inspired countless youth to put in tremendous effort to be an engineer or scientist.

I have fuzzy memories of the first shuttle launch over 30 years ago; and oh! how I wish the Western World would get a focus back on something marvellously challenging again, to boost our economies and inspire our youth once again.

Too many accountants, bankers, and lawyers are being allowed to set the priorities these days; and not enough people with scientific and engineering backgrounds.

Governments are falling over themselves to privatise this and privatise that. I think, though, that some projects (and ideas!) are just too big to be contemplated by business alone. A government with access to mind-boggling resources needs to set a course, set an inspiration, for BUILDING BIG things.

Where are the politicians with the guts to stand up and say, ‘Yes – I want to see us achieve this very difficult and challenging goal, and here is a bunch of money dedicated to doing that’?

Where a ‘bunch’ need only be as much to include some government led projects, and a gaggle of businesses feeding in supplies.

Along the way, mysterious things will happen. Things that bring benefits not even dreamed of.

Yes, I have two feet on the ground. There are serious financial issues facing many Western Countries. Bail outs. Debt Ceilings. These are serious issues and must be properly addressed. I agree.

Let us, though, tell our politicians over and over again that engineering and science matters. These are LONG TERM, not quarterly or election driven, goals.

And here’s a thought: maybe a long-term figurehead should be promoting these long-term goals?

In the UK, this could be the monarchy. Wouldn’t it be great if they took it on to provide the vision that stretched across the generations?

In the USA, it seems ex-business leaders might be the ones to do this (look what Microsoft’s Bill Gates is doing for example).

The media is needed to be on board with this too. It is so easy for reporters to just regurgitate the latest quarterly report or knee-jerk campaign.

NASA, I believe, was right to put outreach and media at the core of their operations. This created a culture of long-term thinking and inspiration.

Let’s encourage a cross-generational, higher plane of inspirational, multi-national creative building of BIG things.

The space shuttle – RIP: here are the bookends…the first launch and the last landing….

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