After the past week's reminiscing on his blog, about Apollo 11 at 50 years, SiG looks forward:
Apollo 11's 50th anniversary was a one day celebration of the media, although the mission goes on for another few days (and can be followed in real time here) and then it has gone back to being a history book story. On to the next outrage of the day or whatever political story is grabbing headlines. So what now?
With current technology mission plans, called "boost and coast", a Martian trip is a long undertaking. Mars and Earth reach opposition (closest point) roughly every two years (it varies).
Some designs that have been investigated would allow 60 day trips to Mars instead of seven months. By now everyone has heard of bone loss, edema and other problems astronauts on the ISS face. Those can be solved by artificial gravity on the spacecraft, like the science fiction books used to say. Yes, it will make the spacecraft heavier and the mission more expensive. Nobody ever suggested there was anything remotely easy about it.
There was, in the early 1980s, a weekly CBS radio essay by Dan Rather (of all people) I wish I could track down. I'd pay real money for it, either transcript or recording.
Because despite his liberal oafishness and stupidity, Rather is, at heart, a Texas kid, and a reporter who cut his journalistic teeth on Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.
In that missing essay, he was arguing, quite eloquently, about how Mars had to be next, and why cutting NASA funding in favor of expanding the usual beloved liberal welfare boondoggles was foolishly "eating our seed corn", in a very real way. True in the '80s, and even truer today.
I grew up literal blocks from where they built the Saturn V main engines. I rode my bike into the parking lot, and touched one, sitting outside their front door, many times. They tested them in the hills outside suburban L.A. every weekend. Long before the first Apollo mission launched, I'd heard those engines roar, many a time. I heard Neil Armstrong break the sound barrier (without knowing it was him) many times growing up, in the skies far enough above the SoCal desert that he could see the curvature of the earth. My friends' fathers helped design any number of bits and pieces of the space missions. Hardware, software, and cargo. Gauges, telemetry, pieces of spacesuit, a window, switches and lights, miles and miles of electrical wiring. Who even knows what? All sorts of things, in the aerospace world that ruled California in the 1960s. Space is as much in my blood as anyone's, perhaps more so. I grew up with it as the new normal.
The moon race, which happened, as Sig painstakingly points out to the idiot Moon Hoaxer retards, got us orders of magnitude in tech. Things that are toys now are a reality because we needed them to get to the moon.
Your average Casio G-Shock wristwatch has more raw computing power than NASA did in 1969. Your PC or laptop could run rings around what the NSA was using to crack codes then. Freeze-dried foods, mylar packaging, LED displays, microminiaturized circuits, and a gajillion other things, large and small, percolated out of the moon race and into everyday life. It wasn't just Tang.
Making a feather-fragile mylar-wrapped jungle gym that could carry human beings into the most inhospitable atmosphere ever attempted, safely, and bring them back, spawned solutions that we'd never have even thought up, because once, for one shining decade, the literal brightest minds on the planet all came together, amidst a terrible war, and internal social strife that would have sundered any five lesser nations, and surmounted every obstacle, culminating in a nearly flawless execution.
Nobody else has done it in fifty years, and nobody could do it, even now, despite a handy American road map to success, and another fifty years.
Just the U.S.
We have to get back into space.
We must get to Mars. And back. And again and again.
And move outward to the other planets.
We ought to do it.
We can do it.
We must do it.
And taking the high-functioning retards who took the plot of Capricorn One and made it into a cottage-industry religion, and shutting them up forever, would just be sprinkles on the frosting of that effort.
All three astronauts from Apollo 11 were born in 1930.
They grew up on Buck Rogers. I grew up on them.
My generation's dreams of space were crushed and flushed by two generations of short-sighted idiots among TPTB. We can't let that sort of myopic idiocy continue in the halls of power, nor pinch the purse strings of exploration for its own sake.
Every day we're not plotting that mission, and funding it, is a wasted day in the American enterprise, and a betrayal of every generation of humanity that succeeds us.
"We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further; it may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,
White on a throne or guarded in a cave
There lies a prophet who can understand
Why men were born" - James Elroy Flecker