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iPod Generation Indifferent to Space Exploration

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the in-space-no-one-can-hear-your-ringtones dept.

526

An anonymous reader writes "CNN tells us that today's young adults are no longer excited at the possibility of space exploration: 'The 2004 and 2006 surveys by Dittmar Associates Inc. revealed high levels of indifference among 18- to 25-year-olds toward manned trips to the moon and Mars. The space shuttle program is slated to end in 2010 after construction of the international space station is completed with 13 more shuttle flights. The recent 13-day mission by Discovery's seven astronauts was part of that long-running construction job.' As a result, NASA's budget will include a greater amount of public relations spending."

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526 comments

Sounds Fair (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399234)

I think that I am in the Space Exploration generation, and I am indifferent to iPods.

They need a reason to care (3, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399238)

They'll care about it when it's practical for some of them to take a trip into space or to the Moon.

Youth, by nature, tends to be more shortsighted than mature adults. We'll also likely see a change as that generation ages.

NASA hasn't done anything exciting recently. (5, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399318)

They don't care because it's been a while since NASA has really done anything interesting. It's tough to get excited about space exploration when it's a handful of people riding up and down in a vehicle that's older than most young people's cars, and doing incomprehensible/boring stuff when they get there.

Space exploration was exciting when it meant putting people on the moon; the public has lost interest when it just means sending people up to LEO over and over again, and the people in question aren't them.

I suspect that if we put a person on Mars, you would see an immediate renewed interest in space exploration. But seeing the state to which NASA and the government in general has fallen, I suspect most young people are (wisely) too cynical to believe that will ever occur. Thus they don't care, and turn their attentions to things that seem to be actually progressing.

Re:NASA hasn't done anything exciting recently. (1, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399452)

It's tough to get excited about space exploration when it's a handful of people riding up and down in a vehicle that's older than most young people's cars, and doing incomprehensible/boring stuff when they get there.

It should be...

It's tough to get excited about space exploration when it's a handful of people riding up and down in a vehicle that's older than most young people, and doing incomprehensible/boring stuff when they get there.

Re:NASA hasn't done anything exciting recently. (2)

ericdano (113424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399484)

Yeah. And it takes them......forever to do anything. I mean, this space station......how many years has it been under construction? Hubble needs repair and they are planning on doing it....when?

It's hard to get excited about something that is moving so slow.

Re:NASA hasn't done anything exciting recently. (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399492)

I agree, the golden era of space exploration only lasted for the first decade, which was in the 1960's. It's very easy for me to imagine why people were so excited when every year brought fantastic new achievements, but then aerospace more or less leveled off. Me, I'm just old enough to remember the first Shuttle mission, and I can't say much has happened for manned space exploration during my lifetime. If anything I think it has diminished a bit. IMHO, unmanned is where it's at.

Re:NASA hasn't done anything exciting recently. (3, Insightful)

M-G (44998) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399564)

Don't forget that our current mode of space exploration is something that this generation has grown up with. I remember the first shuttle launch. To a teenager today, shuttles have been flying their entire lives, so to them there's no real novelty to captivate a large audience.

Re:NASA hasn't done anything exciting recently. (3, Insightful)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399702)

That is the nail!

For a large number of us the concept of putting a man on the moon (let alone in space) is practicaly pedestrian, as opposed to in the 60s when it was a truely amazing (and NEW) thing.

I grew up with the knowledge that space flight, and going to the moon were things we have done, and we did them a LONG (to a 7yr old) time ago.

I for one still am interested in what we are doing in space (I am 23, just for ref), however it isn't the type of thing that it was when we first started.

Now most of us are more interested in what is happening at home (Earth), and understandign that better.

Re:They need a reason to care (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399342)

They'll care about it when it's practical for some of them to take a trip into space or to the Moon.

I'm a beach vacation person. There's no ocean on either and while I'm sure the blast off would be entertaining the rest would be unbelievably boring for me.

Why would you ever think that a trip to Mars would be exciting for most non-nerds? Once the novelty of going to space as a civilian wears off, there's little draw.

Re:They need a reason to care (2, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399368)

They'll care about it when they run out of places on Earth to build Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts franchises

Re:They need a reason to care (1)

Sodade (650466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399438)

Sure, there are social benfits to space exloration, but maybe people just want thier tax dollars to go towards fixing the problems we have here on earth now. Leave space for private companies for now.

Re:They need a reason to care (3, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399442)

I think this is an incredibly wrong attitude. The youth of the 1920s and 1930s were the ones that were excited by the possibilities of space exploration. They grew up with the beginnings of space oriented science fiction and this formed the basis for everyone from Chuck Yeager to Neil Armstrong.

Today's fantasys are shaped by authors which focus far more on dark gothic horror and sex. Look where we are today.

No, it isn't the youth that eventually mature into beliving in space exploration, it is the youth that push the rest of the stay-at-homes into investing in the future.

It is dangerous and foolhardy to place the future of the human race at the mercy of the planet Earth. And viewing the planet as a closed system, without access to off-world resources is equally short sighted. As someone else once said, Humanity is too valuable to place all our eggs in one basket.

Re:They need a reason to care (1)

localman (111171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399714)

Today's fantasys are shaped by authors which focus far more on dark gothic horror and sex. Look where we are today.

Yes, we're living in a much better world -- at least in the civilized bits with access to gothic horror and sex. Cool!

Rate of Progress (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399558)

Honestly, from the view of anyone under the age of 30 (or so) there is a different expectation on the rate of progress than the generations that came before them.

For people who were growing up in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's the world was changing at a rapid rate and people were expecting that the investment in Space Exploration would have pay-offs in their lifetime. People who were raised in the 80's (and I suspect the 90's) look at the world as being far more stable because most of the advancement has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. To a certain extent, older people expect science fiction levels of space travel in the next century, whereas people under 30 see it in the distant future.

That's just my theory of course ...

Re:They need a reason to care (1)

wizzard2k (979669) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399700)

We could always start bundling new iPods with the 2001 theme.

Personally I dont think there has been much good publicity about space travel lately (except maybe Richard Branson's efforts). Space, while still vastly unknown, isnt nearly as mysterious as it once was. To an astronomer or a scientist, it may be many times more mind boggling knowing what we know, however the sex appeal of space has sort of worn off. Its not the final frontier it used to be.

If by "space exploration" (4, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399242)

You mean "everything" I can agree.

Re:If by "space exploration" (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399616)

At the risk of being modded down for a 'me too' post the political apathy of the current 18-25 year olds backs up your comment.

There is probably nothing out there anyway (0)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399254)

Fewer and fewer people believe in aliens, at least within a reasonable distance from ourselves. The more we learn about space, the more we realise that it is extremely empty and boring.

Re:There is probably nothing out there anyway (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399302)

And when you start to learn more about general relativity, you realize it's not so boring anymore.

Re:There is probably nothing out there anyway (2, Insightful)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399524)

That's completely opposed to my experience.

The more and more we learn about space, the more amazing I find it. We always knew it was mostly empty, so that's not news. But here is some news,

You don't find exoplanets captivating? 182 [exoplanets.org] of them.. don't you wonder what they look like? You don't find sub-terrain oceans [wikipedia.org] with who knows what below the surface of Jupiter's icy moons or water flowing on the surface of Mars not so long ago the slightest bit interesting? How about the ever changing notions of the shape and nature of the Universe and it's origins?

Frankly, our own ideas of space aliens, and perhaps our expectations of finding them as we expect are boring. If we find Klingons tomorrow.. yawn..

If recent planetary and deep space science has taught us anything, it is that we have no idea what to expect.

Re:There is probably nothing out there anyway (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399580)

The more we learn about space, the more we realise that it is extremely empty and boring.

Should mankind put its eggs in one basket, though? The way things are going with population increase and everyone wanting to live an industrialized lifestyle, the Earth will eventually wear out. Not to mention the threat of nuke war, an asteroid strike, or even something totally unforeseen. Being spread out throughout the Solar System will certainly help assure our survival. As will moving some mining and the messiest industrial processes off-planet.

-b.

iPod Generation? (3, Funny)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399262)

There is no such thing as the "iPod Generation". Do not go and make up a name for that group just because you need to use the word iPod a certain number of times per day on the front page.

I certainly couldn't care less about space exploration (and I'm just barely outside of that demographic. I always thought it was a waste of time and energy to do a manned Mars exploration. Let's get the moon and space station finished first -- we've already started afterall.

After that, end the programs and use the money right here.

Re:iPod Generation? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399294)

I'm inclined to agree. TFA's title is "NASA's vision lost on Web generation," which is still stupid and meaningless, but at least it's stupid and meaningless without dragging an overhyped brand name into it.

Re:iPod Generation? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399354)

Hit submit too soon.. while I agree that the title is dumb, I disagree on the space exploration component of your post. Grumblegrumble..

Re:iPod Generation? (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399364)

TFA's title is "NASA's vision lost on Web generation," which is still stupid and meaningless, but at least it's stupid and meaningless without dragging an overhyped brand name into it.

NASA's Vision Lost on Web 2.0 Generation

Ahhhh, much better...

Re:iPod Generation? (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399306)

I agree with you when I say "Why bring the iPod into this?" and I'm going to be very angry if this stupid label sticks.

I disagree with you completely on the space exploration issue, I think it's a _very_ important priority for our future. Not only do I think space exploration is highly important, but I think they should send iPods out there as well =)

Re:iPod Generation? (1)

ReptilianSamurai (1042564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399448)

Where would we be now if Columbus was told not to go on an expedition, because the European youth were apathetic to exploration?

I think exploring space may be the most important thing we can do. Especially at the rate we are using up our own planet's resources / destroying the environment. We're going to need somewhere else to go, and the sooner we get moving on space exploration, base building, planet finding, etc the better.

Re:iPod Generation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399696)

Where would we be now if Columbus was told not to go on an expedition, because the European youth were apathetic to exploration?

Uh, somewhere in Europe?

Re:iPod Generation? (2, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399478)

It could be worse ... it could be the Zune Generation.

Meanwhile, I am in fact less interested in "trips" to Mars than a Base on the moon. All the launch efficiencies kick in, etc.

But we have to deal with a fundamental attitude that Bush rampaged on: we have to quit cowering in fear at the possibilities of terror attacks. We banned apple juice on airplanes for a couple months; the threat matrix is a zillion times worse for a space base. The movie Contact has a telling comment (we expected the attack, so we built it double.)

What could we have accomplished if we went to the moon instead of Iraq?

Re:iPod Generation? (1)

budcub (92165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399410)

There is no such thing as the "iPod Generation".

Yeah, I've been wondering how is the iPod generation different than the Walkman generation. Its all the same to me, I'd rather have a good stereo than be tied down to earphones stuck in my head.

Re:iPod Generation? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399710)

After that, end the programs and use the money right here.

And people wonder how, with trillions of planets out there, we haven't run into another space-faring species. I think this is the solution to the Fermi Paradox right here.

iPod generation? (3, Insightful)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399268)

"iPod generation"? WTF? How is that name relevant to...well, anything?

Anyway, I'm in that age range. I can tell you that space exploration is as exciting as it ever was, but I'm indifferent (or, rather, have negative feelings) towards NASA doing it. Wasting all kinds of money on projects that are either never finished or are spectacular failures that could be used for more useful things.

Re:iPod generation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399540)

The reason we're indifferent to NASA doing "space exploration" is that we know they spend the majority of their budget on PR already, and NASA Studios suck compared to the commercial studios.
Increasing the PR budget isn't going to make up for their lack of talent and vision.

If we're going to have a publicly funded space-drama series, I'm sure PBS could deliver it for orders of magnitude less than NASA will.

Strange, I would have thought the reverse... (3, Interesting)

ReptilianSamurai (1042564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399278)

I'm 20 years old and nothing excites me more about the near future than space exploration. The idea that in <b>my</b> lifetime we will likely have a moon base, or go to Mars is hard to believe.

Then again, I read Slashdot, so I may not represent my demographic. ;-)

Re:Strange, I would have thought the reverse... (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399610)

I'm 30 years old, and while I thought space exploration was neat when I was younger, today I mostly see it as just a very well funded astronomy club. There is no value in going to the Moon or to Mars. If you really want to get my interest, you've got to think bigger than that. Send probes directed at the 30 nearest stars in an attempt to find an earth like planet and try to colonize it. Now, if you build a self sustaining space station as a precursor to an extra-solar expedition, I might be interested. As it is, the current station is, at best, a sad joke.

Re:Strange, I would have thought the reverse... (1)

ArsSineArtificio (150115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399742)

I'm 20 years old and nothing excites me more about the near future than space exploration. The idea that in my lifetime we will likely have a moon base, or go to Mars is hard to believe.



Based on past performance, the idea that in your lifetime we will have a moon base or go to Mars is hard for me to believe as well.

iPod Generation... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399308)

Since when does "young generation = iPod generation" these days? I saw a few shots from the space station where some of the astronauts had iPods on Velcro. I think it would be fair to say that the "video game generation" has a lack of interest in space. I blame William Shatner for that one. In a video clip for an old Star Trek game, he announced to a group of Starfleet cadets: "Space is boring."

Re:iPod Generation... (1)

kyouteki (835576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399668)

Space is boring. However, all the little goodies in it (stars, planets, black holes, dark matter, etc.) are exciting.

Does it matter? (1)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399324)

These 18-26 year-olds might have different opinions in 10-20 years. Until then, their opinions don't matter. Why? They're not politically involved when compared to older demographics. But NASA is smart in trying to preempt future apathy.

Besides, not enough Americans care about taxes and program funding for this to matter. As long as politicians want huge NASA contracts going to their district/state, NASA will have funding. Whether or not this funding is merited is a different story...

Let's see... (2, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399336)

We're running out of oil, faced with the probability of using ever-more CO2-generating coal to fuel our civilization, and we're (the "we" being "anybody who's paying attention") supposed to be excited about sending astronauts into orbit to solve exactly none of these potentially life-threatening problems? I'd call that a good thing. I'd call that knowing your priorities.

Re:Let's see... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399550)

Yawn. So we waste oil to send a few astronaunts on the shuttle into space for a few days to feel better about our space prospects? Every decade or so, we all pay for the televised, government-sponsored execution of another seven fools. It's like we are sacrificing them to the god of space or something.

What a waste of time. Keep drinking your vodka-tainted Tang, space dorks.

Re:Let's see... (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399638)

Well, one of the ways to generate energy without using carbon is to launch solar panels into orbit and beam solar energy back to earth using diffuse radio waves (which are as safe or safer than cell phone and are not a death ray in any way shape or form). You get more power that way from the solar panels, since they see sun 24x7, about 3 or 4 times more than you get on the Earth and it can cost about the same to launch the panels as it takes to make them if you do both in large quantity.

The economics of doing this gives electricity about the same price as it is right now. Energy pay back over the energy to make the rocket happens in a few years and the life is about 15 years on orbit.

The costs of doing this keep going down, due to mass production solar panels, and reductions in the cost of launch. Meanwhile the price of oil is generally rising making the carbon generation route more expensive. Provided you go for it with a few gigawatt powerstation, it's cost effective and pays back the money borrowed to do it in a few years. That kind of size is enough for a million homes or so.

Re:Let's see... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399640)

sending astronauts into orbit to solve exactly none of these potentially life-threatening problems?

Orbiting solar power stations beaming power down to a station in an unpopulated area using microwaves have been proposed. So have orbiting mirrors to reflect some sunlight and possible combat global warming. This isn't even mentioning moving some mineral mining operations off the planet (moon or asteroid belt) given a cheap (nuclear?) energy source so that the Earth doesn't get polluted and scraped clean by them.

Who will do this stuff in space?
(a) Santa Claus
(b) Aliens with mind control implants raised from birth in Area 51
(c) Astronauts
(d) Earthbound "environmentalists"

-b.

Re:Let's see... (1)

jonored (862908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399724)

Now, what would actually be useful is going to the moon and researching the economic viability of mining helium-3 for fusion. No awkward neutron radiation, just normal hydrogen and helium as by-products, possibly renewable dependent on the rate of absorption from the sun... Some aspects of this whole space exploration buisiness are very relevant to the fuel shortage. In fact, I do believe China is planning on pursuing just this route, planning on getting there by 2010. It's not worthless; but NASA could be doing a much better job than they are.

Space is unimportant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399338)

Given the problems that we face right now, unemployment, starvation, wars, the environment.. Why again should anyone care if we can explore space when we can't clean up our own act?

Re:Space is unimportant (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399434)

Do you honestly believe that any of that is ever going to end? Take a look at human behavior, sometime, and consider your words.

Re:Space is unimportant (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399664)

Do you honestly believe that any of that is ever going to end?

And space explo. may provide technological solutions to these problems either deliberately or accidentally. Of course, it will raise new environmental problems, no doubt, but that's the way that things work.

-b.

Jay-Z (0, Flamebait)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399340)

18 to 25 year olds are interested in getting there bling on, phatty rides, Jay-Z or Missy Elliot, and not being too drunk or high to get to work at Wal-Mart in the late afternoon.

They couldn't even name 1/2 of the planets.

Yay public edumacation.

iPod generation?? WTF (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399344)

OK, so the iPod came out in 2001...it's now 2006/2007...so the iPod generation can only contain people who are five or six years old
DAMN those pre-schoolers! Wrecking space exploration...next thing you know, they'll want to exclude people with "cooties" from playing with their toys.

TDz.

They don't get it (2, Insightful)

ConanG (699649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399372)

Patrick Stewart? David Duchovny? Unless they fly on the shuttle or in the ISS, they won't have any effect.

Kids aren't interested in space because nothing new has happened except a disaster and a "space station" in the last 20 years. They aren't excited because NASA isn't going out of its way to make us believe that one day they will be able to travel to space. Unless, of course, they get a PhD. by the time they're 25, in perfect health, and a model citizen.

If they really want to ignite interest, let regular folk go to space. For the last 50 years, only the most perfect people have been given the chance to go. It's our turn...

Re:They don't get it (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399740)

If they really want to ignite interest, let regular folk go to space. For the last 50 years, only the most perfect people have been given the chance to go. It's our turn...

Mod parent up insightful!

That's what private companies based in places with more relaxed views of liability like India and Brazil are going to be for. If you die in space - too bad - you signs the contract, you takes the risk. And that's the only way to look at exploring a dangerous place. We (even NASA, though they do try) can't hope to achieve perfect safety. Nor could the sailors that sent out ships to explore the world in the 15th century.

BTW- the people who'll ultimately end up working in space may very well not be "model citizens" nor "perfect." They'll be the same people who have gravitated towards any "frontier" - those who are either too restless for the old society or running from something in it.

-b.

Obviously... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399380)

We have all seen Independence Day on repeat on TBS like eleventy billion times, so there's no need to worry about finding intelligent life. It finds us, duh!

Re:Obviously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399462)

(and kills us)...

Could it be due (4, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399382)

To the fact that most kids these days are clued up to the vastness/emptyness of space, the barreness of Mars and the Moon and the difficulties of actually getting anywhere, nevermind finding and colonizing other planets. A trip to Mars or the Moon then seems like an utterly insignificant step towards the space exploration and technology they see in the movies etc. They know it has to be done but the cool stuff comes much much later and most likely not in their lifetime.

Re:Could it be due (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399586)

fact that most kids these days are clued up
By that statements inaccuracy, I guarantee that is not the problem.

The point... (1)

Alcibaides (1042922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399390)

I think it is a matter of seeing the point. With no national rallying cry and the "mundane" nature of what we've seen in our lifetimes (as well as Challenger/Columbia), the return is difficult to easily see. I think we've also been desensitized by science fiction: we want our warp drive, we want our FTL drives, and we surely want Adama to jump the ship straight into the atmosphere. Silly relativity screws everything up...

This is no different then Apollo (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399396)

After Apollo 11 landed on the moon and the US beat the Russians to it no one cared about what NASA didi after that. No one was interested in space exploration in the first place, it was all about beating the Russians.

TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399738)

So you don't mind if I come and take your TV away.
Since most of the programming is bounced off of satellites.

I does not have to look far to see so many more things you would miss.
Don't wight off NASA until you understand what you are giving up.

And I am skipping over the satellite data colection that monitors our
weather and tell us about problems like the effects of CO2 and coal burning.

Why don't we see Aliens? (2, Insightful)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399406)

Because Aliens are busy sitting at home experiencing virtual realities. Once computer simulations reach a certain point, you can create a universe bigger and more entertaining than the real one.

Why? (3, Interesting)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399418)

Why are people increasingly disaffected with space exploration? Well, aside from general apathy -- I mean, come on, it's 18-25 year olds, the most apathetic (is that a word?) age -- most of us are "meh" about space because we highly doubt FTL travel will ever actually occur. The planets in our solar system are extremely distant and inhospitable, and terraforming another planet like Mars or Venus is also highly unlikely.

The "exploration" aspect of space is basically gone; we've been pretty much as far as we can feasibly go. It's not a frontier anymore, and it won't be until some future Columbus makes it to another star system and brings a few natives back.

They grew up with space... (3, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399432)

The 18-to-25s that aren't showing any interest, well, there's a good reason.

For most of their active life, as far as they were concerned, space flight is an everyday occurance.

They grew up with the Space Shuttle. They grew up with space stations. Exploration is practically common (face it, with the Mars rovers since the mid-90's...). So is it any surprise that manned exploration would get a yawn?

This happened in the 70's. I believe by Apollo 13, no one watched space launches on TV anymore (if the networks would even carry it) nor did the public actually care (until the tank exploded).

For those who grew up in the 70's, well, spaceflight was a mystical thing. These feelings probably stayed. It's basically assumed that spaceflight is a boring reality these days.

Go back a few years, say around the time I was born, and yes, you'd probably find more excitement about spaceflight (hell, I'd love to go).

Take aviation - nobody thinks much about hopping on a plane (other than the PITA that is security nowadays and long lineups) to go somewhere. Go back to the 1950s when travelling by commercial jet was fairly novel. Now, well, it's just another form of travel. The same thing is happening to spaceflight. The novelty has worn off on this "generation" - they grew up with it, and probably assume it's always been the case.

Re:They grew up with space... (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399578)

Bullshit. "Everyday"?

Shit NASA can't get it up every MONTH much less everyday.

Kids aren't interested in Spaceflight b/c NASA has made it pointless. Shuttle flights to resupply the ISS, whose purpose is to be resupplied by the Shuttle?

Your taxdollars at work.

Now, if they were SERIOUS, I wouldn't have a problem, but MORE money for NASA is MORE money *NOT* spent on access to orbit.

Poll-shmoll (1)

WarpSnotTheDark (997032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399444)

Really, who cares about what 18 - 25 year olds from Houston think? If it doesn't roll on dubs or get dropped when it's hot, most of them will not find it interesting enough to pay attention to. We don't need them anyway, get the smokers to pay for it - they already pay for roads, why not space flight as well?

How about this... (3, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399460)

...the iPod generation seems indifferent to science and engineering in general, and seems more interested in applied technology.

I'm within the age-group that they specified, but I enjoyed building Tesla Coils, playing with all kinds of electrical and electronic equipment, pyrotechnics and the like.

These days, a lot of kids in my age group aren't particularly motivated towards building anything.

They'd much do things on the computer. Hell, most of them do not even consider Lego Mindstorms to be vaguely interesting.

Then again, I bet every generation feels this way about the newer generation. Who knows?

Re:How about this... (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399682)

I also fit in this demographic and i've realized how subdued everyone's(18-25) sense of adventure is. There is almost no desire to learn new things or even to expand the horizons of their own comfortable living. Thank God i dont fit the typical bill of my (read: iPod?) generation.

The truth (2, Insightful)

Dasupalouie (1038538) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399464)

The only real push that the space program ever got was during the Cold War. It's upsetting that war brings out innovation and today's generation is stuck with a cycle of reusing the old.

We are not the ipod generation! (2, Interesting)

boobavon (857902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399466)

We don't call the 60s kids the sex without condoms generation! I resent the ipod designation.

NASA indifferent to space exploration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17399474)

The ISS and the shuttle are duds! What are these 13 missions for? What does the ISS do other than take up space? The hubble is worth more to science than the balance of the program. Lets get back to actual exploration and stop beating these dead horse programs and maybe the idiot youth will wake up.

Who cares what they want? (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399482)

This is the same demographic who speaks loudly against government yet fails to do the one thing to fix it, vote. Time and again this demographic fails to turn out at the polls despite their intense displeasure of the way things are going. This is the smae generation who has grown up with instaneous gratification and it shows in their demeanor. Fuck 'em I say. They don't want to be a reasonable functioning member of society, then I don't want them deciding things like this for me or my kids.

Dude, where's my warpcore? (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399486)

Of course they're not interested in space exploration - the special effects just aren't there. Most aspects of space-flight are pretty boring to watch (with the minor exception of the shuttle launches), and any time something cool looking happens, someone dies. Now, if we weaponized the shuttle and started vaporizing orbiting debris with a laser cannon, THAT would get some interest.

What? (1)

tmjr3353 (925558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399500)

As someone who falls in this particular age range (and who incidentally owns an iPod, not as if that particular fact is important or anything), this is a load of crap. I'm also disappointed in many of the comments on here slagging everyone in this age range. I'm personally excited about space exploration -- the possibility of new developments, making scientific progress and even just the sheer beauty of outer space commands excitement. I also know that I'm not alone; many of the "kids" my age that I associate with feel exactly the same way. Are we in the majority for our age group? Maybe not -- but when has the majority of anyone ever really cared about and loved space exploration unless something particularly exciting was going on?

no one believes it will happen (1)

epaulson (7983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399504)

We've been hearing for most of our lives that "we're going back to the moon" or "we're going to Mars" but nothing ever happens. I don't think anyone believes this time will be any different. We'll spend billions of dollars and get an updated version of Apollo that goes to the ISS, if it ever actually goes anywhere.

Sci-fi set unrealistic expectations (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399508)

Sci-fi set unrealistic expectations. Current technology can barely get us to the moon, it might get us to Mars in several months if nothing at all goes wrong, and when we get there, there's very little we can do of consequence other than bang on rocks and report back how sparkly the insides are.

This is a far cry from warping halfway across the galaxy to save the universe from a universe-threatening quantum disturbance with no particular relationship to reality.

As our capabilities grow, as they will, it might get more exciting again. For instance, even if we never get a space elevator, it is still theoretically possible to have a space age with rockets; it's "just" a matter of getting enough energy, cheaply enough, with fusion.

But until then, it's become clear to anybody who can think (and that's more people than the sometimes-somewhat-elitist Slashdot crowd will credit) that nothing terribly interesting is going to happen anytime soon in the space industry.

Yea, and? (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399514)

Young adults don't care about anything, so an article about them not caring about _____ is redundant.

Space is big, mostly empty, expensive, and dangerous. So people know about space they just have no reason to care about it.

NASA has also had some *ahem* issues with spending money in smart ways instead of just acting as a funnel to the pockets of friends of government.

Opiate of the masses (2, Interesting)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399516)

Democracy is a fine device for trending national policy decisions towards what people really want. In this case, for this age group, it seems that most people want to sit around playing the PS3 all day, and they really don't care about much else. Electronic games are the new religion of our age. Sad as hell.

Fortunately, the US is not a democracy.

Re:Opiate of the masses (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399612)

it seems that most people want to sit around playing the PS3 all day, and they really don't care about much else. Electronic games are the new religion of our age. Sad as hell. Fortunately, the US is not a democracy.

Unfortunately, it is in the interests of government to keep people in that state.

Stop calling us the iPod generation. (3, Funny)

Red Samurai (893134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399520)

It's fucking insulting. I don't have an iPod, and I fucking hate the iPod. And regarding space exploration: show us something new instead of reporting "OMGWTFLOLBBQ there may or may not be water on Mars!!one" every two minutes, and you may have us interested.

Aaand... (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399526)

Cue all the young people protesting that they are very interested in space exploration. Perhaps you're not representative of the population as a whole.

lets explore our oceans first (1)

yourfavoritetroll (858243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399538)

as an "18 to 25 year old" i find it strange that we know more about space than we do our oceans.
some of the weird creatures at the bottom of the ocean seem far more weird than any E.T.
i say forget space, focus on the sea first.

Apathy is not a measure of opposition... (1)

deepvoid (175028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399548)

Contrast the different way that the media shows space exploration today from the 60's when man first walked on the moon, and it becomes clear that, much less emphasis is being placed upon space exploration, and more on self consuming intercenal feuding on a global scale. The space shuttle launch and construction mission received a total of 171 hours of programming while the war in Iraq 2416 hours over all of the cable and broadcast channels in the US and UK during the same time frame. Youth of today have a cynical view of space exploration since NASA makes a space career goal seem unatainable by mere mortals. If space access were more affordable and privitized, there would be a greater degree of anticipation for young and old alike. During the 60's, people watched with anticipation as man touched the moon, but groaned with malaise when faced with the bill. It is no different today, hence while Russia launches regular missions for support of the space station on a shoetring budget, the USA is forced to pay billions a pop to accomplish similar things. Space Ship One was an admirable attempt to break through the ceiling that NASA created, but without better support, they may go the way of any private space effort that has attempted to butt heads with government oversight.

Thus, if you want to see cheap access to space, and you don't like the image of young people rolling thier eyes at the accomplishements of space exploration, then you better get off your can and support private space enterprises.

Inspiration now vs 30 years ago (1)

sprior (249994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399568)

As a person who is now 40 years old and grew up in the New York area, when I was young here are the things we found inspirational about science:

1. The Concorde
2. Star Trek
3. The World Trade Towers
4. The Space Shuttle (a little later)

Now 30ish years later:

1. Concorde retired without a replacement
2. No Star Trek
3. No World Trade Towers
4. Space Shuttle limping along and about to be retired without an obvious replacement
5. To be fair, we had Battlestar Galactica both times, and now people pay me to play with computers all day long.

So you tell me exactly what young people have got for inspriation in science these days? Personally I think that space based science fiction is such an important inspiration that if there isn't enough of it on TV the government should seriously consider grants to encourage it.

We can already do it... (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399574)

We have long had the technology to build a base on the moon. Do you know how much easier and cheaper launching exploration vehicles, both manned and unmanned from the moon would be rather than from earth? I know the DISTANCE isn't that big of a change, but the GRAVITY is a massive change, it would take exponentially less energy (read: fuel) to launch from the moon...Not to mention the observatories and labs that could be set up...after all, what better place to research low-gravity technology than in *gasp* LOW GRAVITY

The probelm is funding. The feds don't want to put any money into space. If we took the budget we have put into the Iraq war 8 years ago, a moon base would already be under construction and ready to be completed in 5-10 years. Like I said, the technology has been around. The FUNDING has not.

I know why people nowadays don't care. Alot of people feel we won't do anything of great percieved importance in our lifetime as of right now, but hey you gotta start the advancement of the race some time. Why not now? When else in history have we had the opportunity to? We have the technology, the money is in circulation, and we have the motivation (survival).

Why the hell are we being so stupid as to throw away such an opportunity?

iPod or Web generation? (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399602)

WTF is up with slashdot (or submitter) calling 18-15 year olds the iPod generation, and wtf is up with CNN saying 'the web generation'? Both are stupid, and imply incorrect things. The implication seems to be that the iPod or the web destroyed interest in the space program. I may be out of that age range, but I can imagine if I were in an age group identified by the web or, even worse, a particular company's product, I'd be offended.

Non just that generation (1)

sgt.greywar (1039430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399608)

All generations are pretty non-plussed over NASA op right now and will likely continue that trend until they manage to do something more exciting that what we already accomplished in the 50's and 60's!

Because the current manned space program is boring (3, Insightful)

joshv (13017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399620)

So can anyone tell me, what, if any real and important science is taking place on our beloved space station? And please don't tell me 'research on long term effects of zero-G'. We're only confirming finding from 20 years ago.

Absolutely nothing interesting has happened in the manned space program since we first repaired Hubble in orbit. Since then we've done nada, nothing, zilch, zero, bupkiss of interest to much of anyone, be they John Q iPod, or a PhD in astrophysics.

The manned space program has become utterly irrelevant. NASA can spend as much money as they want trying to get people excited about 'crystals' grown in microgravity, but we have heard it all before.

Do something new and different. Send people someplace they haven't been before. Or maybe let's get people living, I mean really living, on the moon. It is not impossible with today's technology. It just takes more imagination and political will than NASA currently possesses.

Crap Detector Alert - no study details given (4, Insightful)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399622)

> The 2004 and 2006 surveys by Dittmar Associates Inc. revealed high levels of indifference among 18- to
> 25-year-olds toward manned trips to the moon and Mars.

Erm, that's it? that's all we get?

How big was the sample? how were they chosen? was it ten people chosen from a Big Brother audience? what questions were they asked? how exactly do you decide what "indifference" is?

What a complete load of tosh. An utterly unsubstaniated story.

Patrick Stewart and David Duchovny? (1)

wambaugh (666794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399652)

From the article:

"Tactics encouraged by the workshop included new forms of communication, such as podcasts and YouTube; enlisting support from celebrities, like actors David Duchovny ("X-Files") and Patrick Stewart ("Star Trek: The Next Generation")..."

As one of the younger gen-xers (I'm 30) Patrick Stewart and David Duchovny are still kinda cool, but if you're trying to reach someone ten years younger, why not use someone from a TV-show that aired in this millenium?

Also, the kid at the end of the article who became convinced that the moon landing was a hoax based upon a single YouTube video is really depressing.

Access (1)

dominique_cimafranca (978645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399676)

It's hard to care when the only means of access is limited to big government. Space exploration is exciting, but the complex bureacracy required to pull it off isn't. A few thousand more incremental improvements in technology to bring space into private enterprise is required.

Hurry Up And Wait (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399678)

The reason "young people" are no longer excited about space exploration is that it is no longer exciting. Space has become a fairly routine and known thing where human interaction is concerned. Space exploration into the unknown frontier is conducted by machines not over weeks or months, but many many years. Any chance of sending Man beyond the Moon is many years away, if ever. It's just not that thrilling to sit around and wait.

Are there any good reason to care? (1)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399694)

NASA to me is about:

An endless supply of space images that look like someone passed a few blur filters over a fractal image. They are all really the same, and you can't really see anything for the most part. If you've seen one star cluster with a bit of purple gas, you've seen them all really.

2 second video clips of someone's hands infront of some pole, or clunky machine with a black backdrop.

Ugly people floating around in small spaces.

It's not really something that gets to be interesting unless you are directly involved in it, and there is no immediate payoff to being in space. It's just a big empty space. Our space technology is the equivalent of rubbing two sticks together to make fire. We can't even leave our own front yard yet. We've been going up and down the driveway for the past 30 years, and wondering what the other houses on the street are like. In 30 years, we'll probably still be doing the same thing.

As a 15-year old... (4, Interesting)

PompousClown (1044810) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399706)

...I can say that in my school, I have certainly observed a great deal of student apathy regarding just about everything that has to do with science. It's really a sad thing, because I suspect that this is largely due to our incredibly weak science department. The teachers are terrible. Either you're stuck with the stereotypical monotonous robot of an educator, spewing out terms and expecting the class to understand, or you've got some bipolar nutcase who is certain that we're all gonna die due to global warming. Although my current grade in my BSCS class isn't exactly stellar (79 average), out of all the students in my class I'm still probably the most interested in the subject. This, I would imagine, is because the school system hasn't beaten out my extreme curiosity which I have kept with me all my life. Every night, my dad would read to me from one of his favorite science fiction novels (Ender's game is one that I remember best). I would soak up programs on channels such as the Discovery Science Channel every chance that I got (I still do). And to top it all off, my father and I would frequently discuss the prospects and benefits of space exploration. This is what impacted me the most. Out of all my schooling, it was the extracurricular exploration and stimulation that made all the difference to me. I'm really lucky to have two great parents. I'd say that 40-50% of all the kids I know have parents who are divorced. More still have irresponsible parents to begin with. It's sad, but true.

Oh, I guess that the fact that I was homeschooled from grades 2 to 8 made a big difference aswell.

hmm (1)

majortom1981 (949402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17399736)

Where did they get that data from? I am 25 and Very excited about space and space exploration. If my math skills were better I would have taken physics and astronomy as my major in college.
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