NASA recently asked kids to draw what the future looks like to them. This being a question from NASA, many of the drawings are, of course, focused on space travel. But beyond the question of space travel, they also provide a look at the hopes and fears of American kids.
The NASA LaRC contest was open to all kids K-12 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and it asked them "to explore how today's technology is bringing tomorrow's dreams closer to reality."
Much like the drawings and written predictions of American kids from earlier generations, there is a healthy mix of both optimism and pessimism. Optimism, it would seem, that we will one day conquer the stars in a way that our grandparents had only dreamed. Pessimism, in a way that can only be communicated with a handful of arctic animals surrounded by melting ice and an oppressive sun rising behind them.
The kids of today see the future a bit like the world of WALL-E, I suppose — complete with the "moldy apple trashin" recycling/compost robot above. But they also see robots on Mars. The only issue might be that we already have robots on Mars, leaving us to wonder whether kids today aren't thinking as futuristically as we might have hoped.
Kids here in the early 21st century don't seem too bullish on a robot president. But at least they're not drawing mushroom clouds like their parents and grandparents were.