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Member since: Wed Oct 13, 2004, 05:42 PM
Number of posts: 8,636

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A final thought for this thread!

I really don't expect the US to embark on another Apollo type mission in the current environment and that's really not what I was asking for. In many ways, we're in a dark age right now; funding for science and space have been cut back sharply over the past decades. Science funding is a target for cuts by the GOP-controlled House. Hopefully though, we can begin laying the groundwork for a future renaissance of space in coming decades.

What I want to see now is research and development, by NASA, by private industry, and non-profits like The Space Studies Institute and The Mars Society.

Lowering the price of getting into orbit should be a major priority. The Falcon family of launch vehicles from Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) promise lowered cost to orbit with mass production of simple, all liquid-fuel spacecraft. Contrast their designs with the expensive Constellation series proposed by NASA, which seem designed mainly to provide contracts with ATK (formerly Morton-Thiokol), makers of the SRBs for the space shuttle. Those SRBs were not only responsible for the Challenger disaster; they were a major fact in making the shuttle more expensive than existing expendable launchers.

The space elevator mentioned in a previous comment would be another major step forward.

And yes, we do need to make the mega-rich pay their fair share again. That played a major role in making both the Apollo project and the War on Poverty possible in the same decade.

In closing, I'd just like to remind you that today, 26 Jan, is NASA's Day of Remembrance for the astronauts of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia. Remember them!

I remember when a Democratic president committed us to go to the moon

I've heard the ridicule heaped on Newt Gingrich by the media, for his moon base comments; that ridicule seems to be largely echoed by people on this forum. My major regret is that it took Gingrich to mention this as a goal.

But, I remember when a young, visionary, liberal president committed us to landing on the moon, within a decade:

During that decade:

  • We had a mostly successful anti-poverty program, and
  • we had the best job growth per year since the New Deal: 3.9%, and
  • we were renewing the US educational system, and
  • young people were inspired and motivated to pursue careers in science and education.

How many of the older DUers remember, like Carl Sagan, that for a few years, we soared into the Solar System:

How many of you are old enough to remember when we looked forward to the future:

The cartoonist, XKCD, created this graph:

Quoting XKCD:

"The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision."

A final quote from the late, great comedian and philosopher, Bill Hicks:

“Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

K&R if you agree!
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