It has been noted before by bloggers such as Rand Simberg that liberty-loving folk are often fascinated by space exploration and science fiction. There are various reasons for this. Folk who are interested in entrepreneurship and enterprise can relate to those interested in discovering new worlds and ways of doing things. And moving into space offers the opportunity of leaving statist, stagnant societies behind.
So, if you are depressed by the current wrangles over what to do about Iraq or outbreaks of mass idiocy in the South African Earth Summit, then may I recommend a book written just over two years ago by top-notch space scientist and pro-Mars exploration advocate Robert Zubrin. Although some of the science is quite tough for the layman, he convincingly lays out how space exploration is both doable and necessary. If we want to continue advancing as a civilisation, we cannot afford to assume that Earth will be our only habitat. He is a bit too dismissive, in my opinion, of how commerce could be a driver of exploration, but overall this is one of the best books on the subject I have come across in years.
Well worth the money.
Dr. Robert Zubrin
1999 NSS Conference, Houston TX