Nice piece in the New Yorker on Mars

By Elizabeth Kolbert. It happens I was reading this past weekend much of Kelly Oliver’s new Earth & World: Philosophy after the Apollo Missions, which, as the title suggests, frames her elegant discussions of notions of the world in Kant, Heidegger, Arendt, and Derrida with a depiction of how our view of Earth changed in light of the early Apollo missions. In any case, Kolbert’s essay is a nice look at strange hope for a future “colonization” of Mars–a dubious proposition at best given technological limitations and the limitations of our bodies–at the same time we’re just about done with destroying this one. It’s also a good example of moving from of moving from the Fordist state model of space travel (5% of 1960s US budgets went to NASA, an unthinkable sum now in the age of austerity) to a neoliberal one, where it’s up to a few billionaires and their pipe dreams to get us back to the moon or indeed beyond. We used to have communal dreams of “conquering space” and “colonizing” the moon or Mars (surely someone’s done a critical analysis of those tropes); now it’s a private whim for those who want to one-up their fellow 1%ers in terms of private planes…