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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Babies versus boosters, no contest

8 February 2018

Yesterday was a fantastic day for any geek, space enthusiast or anyone who has the heart and imagination of a little boy.

I mean, we threw a car into space for goodness sake!

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket not only hoisted a Tesla Roadster into the heavens above our heads but it also plans to take it right out as far as the orbit of Mars.

Mind-blowingly cool!

For a long time I have lamented the fact that "flying cars" still remain the stuff of science fiction and the pages of Popular Mechanics from the 1950s -- and yet here we are with a car now in orbit around the planet.

Yes, my gob is well and truly smacked.

However, it seems I am all but alone in my admiration of this feat.

Unfortunately I had to sit on the panel of a webcast immediately after the live-stream of the launch and that gig didn't finish until 90 minutes later so I was hanging out to discover the fate of the third booster stage.

For anyone who doesn't know what this launch was all about (and if there is anyone reading this who doesn't then my audience really has changed over the decades), the three booster-rockets were designed to return to earth and make an automatic controlled landing. Two of these boosters did land successfully near the take-off point but the third was to land on a drone ship off the coast.

Sadly, I was called to the panel before the fate of the third booster was known -- all I saw was that the signal from the drone ship was lost after a great deal of smoke was seen in frame.

Anyway, after finishing the webcast, I sat down to eat my lunch whilst listening to the radio.

OMG!

I was so disappointed that news of this epic launch was not even mentioned.

Excuse me?

I'm sure there was something about stock market prices tumbling in the USA, an earthquake in Taiwan, Kim Kardashian's bum and The Spice Girls getting back together but not a mention of the fantastic event I'd seen just a couple of hours previous.

Even scanning news websites brought nothing but disappointment with human-interest stories and undeclared advertising usurping coverage of this fantastic event.

How sad.

Has the world lost its desire for adventure?

As a kid I recall that every time we took another step into space, people would be huddled around their TV sets, watching rockets surge towards the heavens, watching frail humans float about in the vacuum of space on a tether and marveling that they finally placed a foot on the moon.

Today however, nothing.

It seems that the big moments in science and technology have lost their "awe" for the vast majority of the great unwashed.

However, while I remain absolutely buzzing over the relative success of yesterday's launch and got a great smile from the fact that the words "Don't Panic" were written in large friendly letters on the console of the Tesla as it floated around in orbit, I'm sure that the rest of the world is equally stoked that Kim Kardashian's newly born baby apparently has a $3m solid-gold bassinet, a $400,000 wardrobe of clothes and a full-time masseur and yoga coach.

Why do I sometimes think that as a race, we're devolving to the point of extinction?

What were your impressions of yesterday's launch?

Did you also feel like a young boy again as you watched the combination of science, technology, adventure and cleverness on your screen?

And is it true that that particular Tesla's glovebox is bigger on the inside than on the outside?

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