(or an English Major’s Defense of NASA)
Once the world was small, and men found small things that were different in each other and hated them. The same languages spoken with different accents, the same religions with different prayers or the same skin color on different sides of the river. As the world grew bigger, bigger differences were found, and the people were glad they could stop fighting amongst themselves and could fight and kill others. Their excuses for this violence included different languages, different religions, and different continents, and life was considered peaceful just because the fighting was somewhere else.
The old differences, now known to be small, were held up as proofs of progress, even if the wounds were not always fully healed. A common enemy made room for stitches here and there, and if blood leaked sometimes, well, it was deemed necessary to the joining of two sides of one flesh. We have now begun to understand how small we are, and that this fighting has been but self-immolation all along. But we are not quite ready to give it up.
There are still too many wars and too much killing, and we need to come up with a solution. Too long has humanity been divided. We need to unite our race across lines of color, belief and tongue. To this end, I propose we find a common enemy. The deteriorating conditions of the environment and the growing number of the hungry have failed at uniting us in a noble battle to improve our race.
This is where Texas A&M’s work on the Giant Magellan Telescope finds her calling. If you haven’t yet heard, our esteemed university is a founding partner in the Giant Magellan Telescope project. This telescope will have 10 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope, and it will be built on top of a mountain in Chile. This means there will be plenty of room for Area 51 scope secrets. Texas A&M, the time has come for you to find us aliens. Big, scary looking ones that are not at all humanoid and who speak no understandable language, so that everyone except the most radical of PETA members will approve of execution and exploitation. There should never be anything along the lines of budget cuts for this project. We should in fact move our entire nation’s defense budgets into funding for space exploration in the interest of humanity. This will serve to both speed up the search for extraterrestrial life and act as a show of good faith to the rest of the world. At A&M, we can lead this charge by shifting all of our research monies into aerospace engineering, and leaving all the other departments to starve in the cold. I can only hope they will understand the nobility of their sacrifice.
Let’s return to the unified and celebratory atmosphere of the 1940s and 50s by leaving our own atmosphere far behind. Never have our individual countries been so unified as when they formed opposing teams and tried to wipe each other off the face of this earth that we all share. Together, I believe we can discover in intergalactic manifest destiny a noble tool to promote human rights. And also, when we are deep into a war with the aliens, we can finally have an excuse to use all those nukes we’ve been anxiously hoarding for the past seventy years.