The technological rhino will charge into the future regardless of who is on board. NASA was taken off the rhino in favor of business taking over the space exploration enterprise. I come from the SpaceCamp generation where NASA was full of brave explorers, like the children they blasted into the sky when a small robot learned how to love, or even the kids that made a spaceship out of a trash can. Anything was possible! Now that era of brave exploration will be replaced by status meetings, sales incentives, and advertising gimmicks, corporations will pioneer the next wave of space travel.
The corporate space movement will be different. For example when Captain Kirk chucks the rulebook to finish off a hostile alien being with a double fist crack to the head, he will be subject to disciplinary action and retraining sessions. He will be subsequently fired after a sexual harassment claim from a blue woman. The video from R2D2 will show a rebel alliance time share advertisement. The name Starbuck is years of litigation.
The impact of the privatization of space will complicate the notion of adventure. For example, let’s say Adama needs to make a tough decision, like to blow a suspected Cylon agent out of the airlock. He will need to run the decision by the board. The directors will then request a marketing report on how to include teenage girls in the process, who make a large percentage of the mobile market share. Meanwhile the Cylon agent will be running a highly successful bagel business, (the bagels are really explosives). The board’s decision will result in the search for a musically inclined man who really wants to be loved, but screwed up and will fix it by writing a song about his one true love. While the man sings under her window, the entire fleet will blow up after a board member brings cream cheese to the next meeting. (During the bagel fiasco, Adama is making his next tough decision, like whether he wants to see Toy Story 3 in 3d. I mean it could be cool in 3d, but it might be just as good at the dollar theater. He already saw Avatar in 3d but that was one of those movies you watch for the effects so maybe he should save the money. But then again, he did enjoy the first two. He does have Buzz Lightyear in his locker…)
Corporate take over of the space industry will also complicate the idea of seeking strange new worlds. Imagine outsourcing alien workers. Usually when we call customer service we expect cultural and language differences from outsourced employees. Species differences could cause problems for callers. For example the Borg are brief, efficient and a highly accurate race. Sounds great for employing in our call centers.
Man: Um, how many minutes have I used?
Borg: Minutes are futile. We will upgrade you to extended plus.
Man: Um, I don’t really use my cell phone that much…
Borg: Resistance is futile! You will also take the Nokia upgrade.
Man: But I…
Borg: We will transfer you for more information on how to improve your credit score.
Borg: Your credit will be assimilated! Into a seven hundred score.
Instead of NASA being the symbol of space exploration and human ingenuity, we will have a copyrighted logo to look at when we daydream about the stars. But before we can do any daydreaming, we’ll need to pay a subscription fee or watch commercials. Usually the free star gazing involves highly targeted marketing, like for example if I were a boy wanting to command a spaceship, I would receive a three minute ad with several females talking about a ring that will eliminate my need to take pills! As a boy, I hate it when my mom makes me take vitamins so I think I’m going to ask my doctor about this ring.