Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Final Frontier.....

I watched 2010 on TV tonight. Seeing it on Turner Classic movies makes me feel old. Its a good movie in my opinion, especially the way they melded the story together and tried to stay true to Arthur C. Clarke's work. The entire series is worth the read if you get the inclination. (2001 A Space Odyssey, 2010, 2061, 3001). However sitting here in 2006 knowing that manned spaceflight is stuck seemingly forever in near Earth orbit, makes watching the imagined tale of a joint US-Russian mission to Jupiter very frustrating.

If I were king of the world, the US would have gone back to the moon at least once a year, every year since 1969. We would have had a space station up long before now. There would by this time at least be the preparations in place for a manned mission to Mars. NASA would have a much larger budget, that is for sure.

What is that you say? We cannot afford a large space budget. Maybe.
However how is it we can afford 87 billion every six months or so to poor down a sinkhole in Iraq, but we cannot afford 20 or so billion to advance human knowledge and improve man's technology? Just about all of the modern technology we now take for granted had its start in the space program. It gave the nation a sense of purpose, plus it was awesome to know that the US had planted an American flag on the moon........and the Russians had not.

Instead we simply tinker with the ISS......and hear people complain about doing even that. Me I long for the days of yesteryear when Alan Shepard hit a 7 iron on the moon and Neil Armstrong was out taking big steps for mankind. If the world can afford to go to war again and again, it must be able to afford some dollars for space.

We now return you to the war in (Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, ......fill in the blank).

What might have been.........


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