Jul. 19th, 2009

unclejimbo: (jim and xanxan)
7-20-1969: I was a 5 year old boy in front of our family's console color television watching Walter Cronkite on CBS as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. You couldn't have pried me away with a crowbar according to my mother. If it had to do with going into space I was so there.

7-20-2009: 40 years later, and I am still glued to the set watching anything about space if I get half the chance. I have read the books written by the astronauts about what things were like developing the technology to go to the moon. (Note: The Mercury guys, including John Glenn, were nuts!) I still get a chuckle about how NASA found a cheap and easy solution to an issue of fitting condoms on astronauts so that they didn't leak in space. (They re-labeled the boxes to stroke the fly-boy's egos: Small = Extra Large; Medium = Enormous; Large = Unbelievable!)

If I had any wish as a boy, I wanted to be an Astronaut. I wanted to fly the big rockets and go truly where no one had gone before. Today, I'm a middle aged man who loves rockets and hopes to live long enough to see us return to the moon and perhaps head out to the asteroids and Mars. It's doable. We can make it happen, all we have to do is try.

People bitch about how much money has been spent on spaceflight. Well, it is a pittance compared to other social programs, let alone the military-industrial complex. For what we've spent, the returns in knowledge and even new technologies that have spun off from what they came up with for the Apollo missions are astounding. (From the military, you get nothing. Just big bombs in bunkers waiting to be dropped on someone.)

Here's a clue, folks. If we sit on our butts here on Earth and never go further than Low Earth Orbit, one of these fine days a really big chunk of rock will come along and land right on top of us. If we're out there, we just might be able to do something about it before it hits us. That's a return I'd be willing to spend a bunch of money on, even if it doesn't occur in my lifetime. If my kids and grandkids and so forth are safe, I'll consider it a bargain. Plus it just might inspire some of our kids to stay in school and learn to be something other than a thug.

My opinions, of course, but I hope it inspires some thoughts.

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