In the episode of West Wing entitled "Galileo," one of the plot lines centers around an unmanned probe, sent to Mars, with which NASA has lost contact. Mallory and Sam are standing beside a limo outside a concert hall, and they have this exchange:
Mallory: "I spoke to my dad. I'm sorry about Galileo."
Sam: "They've got a lot of tests they can still try."
Mallory: "How much money is it going to cost to try them?"
Sam: "Don't start with me."
Mallory: "I'm asking as a taxpayer! It costs a hundred-sixty-five million to lose the thing, how much more money is it going to cost to make sure you're never going to find it?"
Sam: "I don't know, Mallory, but we certainly won't divert any municipal tax dollars which are always best spent on new hockey arenas." (Sam likes Mallory, Mallory is dating a hockey player.)
Mallory: "No, it's best spent feeding, housing and educating people."
Sam: "There are a lot of hungry people in the world Mal, and none of them are hungry because we went to the Moon. None of them are colder and certainly none of them are dumber because we went to the Moon."
Mallory: "And we went to the Moon. Do we really have to go to Mars?"
Sam: "'Cause it's next. 'Cause we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill, and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean, and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky.â€¦The history of man is on a timeline of exploration and this is what's next."
Mallory: "I know."
Sam: "People like you, who say thaâ€”what?"
Mallory: "I said, 'I know.' We're supposed to be explorers."
Sam: "Then, what the hell?"
Mallory: "I just like hearing you talk about it."
Sam: "You know somethingâ€”"
Mallory: "You get all puffed up."
Sam: "You're a pain in the ass."
Like so many things of this nature, the impact is much greater when heard. To that end, I've provided an AAC file for it.
Later, CJ and the President are talking about the broader theme they had been trying to come up with. Earlier in the episode, they had arranged to have some sixty-thousand public school students join with the President in a televised classroom event, to watch the probe land. Throughout the course of the episode, the President decided he wanted to expand the theme of the event. At the end of the show, they still didn't know if Galileo Five was okay, but here was more argument for the exploration, in terms of how it captures imaginations and drives people to achieve. By the way, the President had been giving CJ a hard time for not getting into the spirit of exploration, teasing her about the way she said "Galileo Five."
CJ: "Mister President, about that televised classroom for tomorrowâ€”"
The President: "I'm gonna wait up for a while, see if we hear anything. It's out there somewhere. So close."
CJ: "I think you should do the classroom either way."
CJ: "We have, at our disposal, a captive audience of schoolchildren. Some of them don't go to the blackboard or raise their hand 'cause they think they're gonna be wrong. I think you should say to these kids, 'You think you get it wrong sometimes? You should come down here and see how the big boys do it. I think you should tell them you haven't given up hope and that it may turn up, but in the meantime you want NASA to put its best people in the room and you want them to start building Galileo Six. Some of them will laugh, and most of them won't care, but for some, they might honestly see that it's about going to the blackboard and raising your hand. And that's the broader theme."
Pres: "I'll say."
CJ: "I'll be in my office, Mr. President."
CJ: "Yes, sir?"
Pres: "You said it right that time."
CJ: With a smile, "I'll be in my office."
Pres: After she leaves, looking up at the sky, "Talk to us."
And the audio file.