A few personal announcements before getting on to more Space Travel talk! First, my other comic, The Vocate, just celebrated its 100th Episode, so if you’re of a mind to read some bad Latin and medieval theology, swing on by!
Second, I have an essay in the upcoming (August 1) issue of The Freethinker, Britain’s oldest publication of a skeptical turn. It’s about the tradition of atheist literature up to now and why perhaps we might have to wait a bit longer yet for the great atheist novel to emerge, so do check it on out – plus, right now they’re running a story on “Doctor Who: Humanist Hero?” which is bound to be of interest to a few of y’all.
Now, Wernher von Braun. I’ve already talked a good deal about his place in my life and how, weighing everything that I know in the balance, I still can say that I have tremendous admiration for what he stood for and did. Fundamentally, my loyalty goes to those few figures who have been able to make this country think in the broadest terms, not just of our own personal momentary satisfaction, but of the ultimate destiny of our species. What might we do and what must we do if all of the brilliance and beauty of our past – its mistakes as well – are not to be unceremoniously snuffed out a few billion years hence by a Sun Beyond Caring?
The number of people who have been able to maintain our focus for any length of time on this scale of perspective are few. Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Carl Sagan, George Lucas, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and, perhaps most importantly in terms of combining an ability to fire the public imagination with the practical knowledge to see it through, Wernher von Braun. The Engineer Who Could Talk to People – an endangered species at the best of times, and worth preserving in our memory.
– Count Dolby von Luckner