Our lead story over the weekend was about one Eugene Awimbo. The man from Rongai who has been building rockets for several months now, with an aim of putting one into orbit and eventually being the first African to go to mars.

Not everyone agreed with the strong wording on the article, but I’m still of a similar opinion. Some of those who commented said that I am discouraging innovation.

I was surprised that Eugene has actually received some considerable media coverage, including BBC radio. Everyone is curious to know what the guy is up to.

But I’m a practical guy. Unlike many of you who will encourage him to invent the wheel, I say it as I know it is. We’ve seen many Kenyans attempt to create aeroplanes, and I believe we’re yet to see a successful attempt.

The only difference between Eugene and these aeroplane guys is that he’s crazier. A meaningful rocket is not something you launch from your backyard.

The cost alone is impossible. India went into history books last year when it launched a test rocket into space for a measly $25 million. That’s the cheapest it has ever cost. American space shuttles cost atleast $450 million per launch, or roughly more than what it cost us to build Thika Superhighway.

You’ll probably not have a homemade rocket go more than a few thousand feet, leave alone Mars.

We’ll all say what we want and call each other names, but at the end of the day, we’ll finally agree Eugene’s project is heading nowhere. Brilliant innovator misdirecting time and money. I’d be happy if he was actually making new stuff or things better.

On a positive note, this guy is an artist. Looking at his ‘rockets’, one cannot fail to amaze at the skill involved in carving the cardboards, the paint job etc. If his intention was making display objects for sale, I must say he has done it splendidly. Perhaps the National Museum should have a look.

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