Author Topic: Belated Happy Anniversary  (Read 499 times)

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Offline Þórgrímr

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Belated Happy Anniversary
« on: July 21, 2007, 10:22:46 AM »
Just in case anyone here could possibly have forgotten, yesterday marked the 38th anniversary of mankind's first landing on our nearest solar neighbor... the moon.

I was short of my 9th birthday by a couple of months at the time and I remember being allowed to stay up as late as it took to watch the whole event unfold on a tiny B&W TV screen at our home at the time in California. I didn't sleep a wink the whole night.

When the transmission came through "the Eagle has landed" I think I might have had my first experience at something that was so exciting it was very nearly sexual for a 8-year old. Even back then I was an enthusiastic supporter of the space program and more specifically 'manned' space exploration.

Since then our space program seems to have lost its way. Yes, they've done a few amazing things and we've had amazing successes such as the Mars robot probes, but NASA has lost its way. In many ways NASA and the US has lost its nerve. We've suffered tragedy and loss along the way, yes, but we had suffered tragedy and loss even before this. I remember the day when 3 brave men were lost in a terrible accidental fire onboard Apollo 1 during a training exercise on Jan 27, 1967. That was a terrible blow and it still brings tears to my eyes as I recall what I was feeling that day.

I remember following the Apollo 13 events breathlessly as another 3 brave men fought to bring their crippled spacecraft home and the entire world watched. My eyes are misting up as I write this today.

The Challenger and Columbia disasters were also shocking and tragic losses, but it seems like we felt them less heavily than Apollo 1. The day-to-day events around the world have stolen the dream from all of us. More importantly, they have stolen the dream from those we have lost.

The space program today, as it has nearly always been, is mired in controversy and funding shortages. As in the 1960's people ask "Why should we spend all this money to go to space when we could be using it here on Earth to fund solutions to other problems?" Here are a few of the reasons I can think of right off the top of my head,

microwave ovens
desktop & laptop computers
GPS navigation systems
cell phones
halon fire extinguishing gas systems
Google Earth, Mars & Moon
high definition TV
data servers

It's high time we took back the dream. It's past time we took back the dream. It's time we looked to the skies again and dream big things again. We cannot allow the sacrifices of the men and women who have lost their lives living the dream be in vain. We cannot allow the men and women who have lived the dream and done great things to have all their efforts have been for nothing.

NASA must be reminded that it was not formed to become a huge government bureaucracy, it was formed to live the dream for all of us. Funding shortages and calls by our own congressional representatives to cut NASA's funding entirely must not be allowed to continue. If we can fund a war to the tune of $400 billion a year, if we can afford to give foreign governments that do not have our best interests at heart billions of dollars in foreign aid every year, if we can afford to give $80+ million to fund Palestinian security forces, then we can afford to give NASA the money it needs to live the dream again.

Our government wastes more money on pork barrel projects every year than the meager funds NASA needs to do the job and do it right and do it BIG. It's our money they're wasting. It doesn't belong to the government, it belongs to the American people. If we have government by and for the people then the people can demand that the government fund the big projects and fund the dreams and stop all the nonsense like building $250 million bridges to nowhere in Alaska.

NASA can be forgiven for having lost much of its way. Even the USA can be forgiven for having lost its way. What we cannot forgive is losing sight of the dream.

In memory of the lost,

Apollo 1: Command Pilot Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom
Senior Pilot Ed White
Pilot Roger B. Chaffee

STS-51-L (Challenger): Ellison S. Onizuka
Sharon Christa McAuliffe
Greg Jarvis
Judy Resnik
Michael J. Smith
Dick Scobee
Ron McNair.

STS-107 (Columbia): Commander: Rick D. Husband, a US Air Force colonel and mechanical engineer, who piloted a previous shuttle during the first docking with the International Space Station (STS-96).
Pilot: William C. McCool, a US Navy commander
Payload Commander: Michael P. Anderson, a US Air Force lieutenant colonel and physicist who was in charge of the science mission.
Payload Specialist: Ilan Ramon, a colonel in the Israeli Air Force and the first Israeli astronaut.
Mission Specialist: Kalpana Chawla, an Indian-born aerospace engineer on her second space mission.
Mission Specialist: David M. Brown, a US Navy captain trained as an aviator and flight surgeon. Brown worked on a number of scientific experiments.
Mission Specialist: Laurel Clark, a US Navy captain and flight surgeon. Clark worked on a number of biological experiments.

In memory of those who went there,

Apollo 11: Commander Neil Armstrong
Command Module Pilot Michael Collins
Lunar Module Pilot Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin

Apollo 12: * Pete Conrad, commander
* Richard Gordon, command module pilot
* Alan Bean, lunar module pilot

Apollo 13: James A. Lovell, Commander
*John L. "Jack" Swigert, Command Module pilot
Fred W. Haise, Lunar Module pilot

Apollo 14: * Alan Shepard, commander
* Stuart Roosa, command module pilot
* Edgar Mitchell, lunar module pilot

Apollo 15: * David Scott, commander
* Alfred Worden, command module pilot
* James Irwin, lunar module pilot

Apollo 16: * John W. Young, commander
* Thomas K. (Ken) Mattingly Jr., command module pilot
* Charles Duke Jr., lunar module pilot

Apollo 17: * Eugene A. Cernan, commander
* Ronald E. Evans, command module pilot
* Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt, lunar module pilot

* Those who have passed beyond the veil since retirement.

And all who came before and have continued after these, I salute you.

To everyone else, call your congressional bottom feeders and demand our government fund the dream. If we have the money to afford to throw it away to foreign governments, we have the money to fund NASA and the BIG things.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Þórgrímr »
Sic vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war


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