Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Long View

Anousheh Ansari is going to space. Alan Boyle interviewed her for MSNBC*

MSNBC.com: You've said that you hope to play a role as a "space ambassador" during this flight. Could you explain that role?

Ansari: The most important part of my role as an ambassador is to educate everyone about space and the importance of space, and space exploration and space sciences. One way I imagine doing this through my trip is by recording every second of my experiences, either through video, pictures or audio — describing my emotions, my activities, my feelings, what I see, what I hear, encompassing all aspects of my experience — and then trying to share that upon my return with as many people as possible. Through this I want to bring awareness to existing activities in space, existing sciences ... and also to share the experience as an individual so people know how it would feel to actually fly to space.

Q: And the aim would be to encourage people to play a role in settling that space frontier?

A: Absolutely. I think it's essential for our species to pay more attention and focus more on advancing our technologies regarding using the resources in space to solve existing problems on Earth, and also to be able to advance our capabilities in space travel so in case our planet does not stay a suitable place to live on, that we will have alternatives. I'm not talking about my lifetime. I'm talking about the long future ahead of us, for our children's children, and their children. But it's something that we have to start right now. There are a lot of issues we need to overcome if we want to be able to travel beyond our solar system, and maybe travel through the galaxy in the long future.

I don't, as a rule, envy a journalist his job. But Boyle has a pretty keen beat as a science editor - what a job.
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