Saturday, July 15, 2017

To the Moon we go!

"The bottom line is this - the train is leaving the station. We have the technology now, so do other countries. The Moon is stop # 1. Are we ready to go? Over ready. Let's go! To the Moon we go!"

Well, it looks like the drought might finally be over. What drought? California? Nope - the longer drought. The one which has taken many decades. The one which is self imposed. I am talking about the drought in going to our Moon. Our Moon. The orb which depends on our gravity. And the reason we have not been back there on a manned landing since December, 1972 is ?????

1972? Wait just a minute Bird! That can't be right! 45 years? We had Wernher von Braun's rocket technology down to a science! Yes, we did. Then why the delay in going back? We may never know the answer to that question, but we do know this much. The time has come to pay a return visit or two (or a hundred). NASA may have become tepid in their voyager- ism, but entrepreneurs and other countries are not. 

I have never understood why we have wasted money on Space Lab and the ISS when we have the Moon which is stable and ready to go for a base. We could have shuttled up materials to build a base on the Moon now for decades. A perfect location for a telescope, the jumping off location for a voyage to Mars, science studies in a low gravity environment, you name it. Instead, we have treated our Moon like it has been the Death Star for decades.

China has other ideas. I am frankly surprised that Russian does not at this point. What about the good old USA? The country which won the space race. Well, the NASA led government is still in a slumber. We are hitchhikers with the Russians in getting up to the ISS. Fortunately, we have a couple of non-government dreamers who are ready to change all of that. Who? Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

And we can't forget Richard Branson from the other side of the pond. He also has his designs on space travel. What does all this mean? We may be on the cusp of space travel once again. Only this time - no government. All private investment over here and government investment in China. In any event, in our lifetime, the Moon, maybe Mars, could become very busy.

Ever since I was a boy living across the ally from an astronomer with a huge telescope in his back yard, I have had stars in my eyes. One of my biggest blessings was in 1969 in boot camp, I had a hernia. I was admitted to Balboa Naval Hospital in July - around the time of the Moon landing. In boot camp there is no TV - in the hospital there was. I could see the Moon landing as it happened.

The bottom line is this - the train is leaving the station. We have the technology now, so do other countries. The Moon is stop # 1. Are we ready to go? Over ready. Let's go! To the Moon we go! 


  1. One of the issues is Trumps level of trust in NASA's budget requests. He only trusts his people and no one on the team has any knowledge or interest in space.
    So he cut education (which he seems to hate at any level) and earth programs, which he equates with climate science (dirty words).
    The budget could change substantially after it runs through the congressional gauntlet. But it builds on two key priorities embraced by Obama and bipartisan leaders of Congress: sending astronauts to Mars by the 2030s and ceding more NASA-controlled activities in low-Earth orbit to commercial space companies.
    The biggest error in the Trump budgeti is it would not continue development of the Asteroid Redirect Mission, or ARM, that NASA has been pitching as a fruitful and relatively low-cost steppingstone to Mars. Many Republicans, who did not like how Obama scrapped a return to the moon under the Constellation program, never bought into the asteroid mission. Just pissy politics by the opposition party.
    Private companies seem prepared and efficient, but relegated to earth orbit missions only.

  2. Didn't think you were going to broach this subject for awhile, so I will go off topic and expect this to disappear.
    With control of Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches, why aren't the fiscal conservatives addressing the elephants in the room.
    Mandatory spending accounts for about 60 percent of the federal budget and over 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The two largest mandatory spending programs are Medicare and Social Security, which together account for nearly 40 percent of the federal budget. Add to these the interest on the debt (8%).
    Why are we building walls, gutting public education, dismantling EPA, etc when the only salvation of our way of life is to address these areas.
    If not now, when? If not the Republicans, who?