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Swiftprobers


Apparently some of the Apollo astronauts are up in arms over the fact that the Obama Administration has cancelled all immediate plans for a NASA return to the moon.

Make no mistake: I too am pissed off that the next time humanity reaches the moon is going to be far enough in the future that it'll probably be never, because civilization will likely be by then crippled to the extent that space travel is impossible (and anyway irrelevant because more immediate challenges will be finding enough food and water). Even if a return to the moon does miraculously occur, I'll be dead by then.

Although it doesn't feed my soul in the same way, I do recognize that in the more immediate future unmanned space investigation is likely to reveal considerably more about our universe/solar system than manned exploration could. And, be it noted, far more cheaply.

Whatever: yes, give me enough popcorn and I'd like to see another small first step. Oh, dammit, yes I would. I'd sit up all night for that one, just like I did for the last one.

But there's a very good reason why the Obama Administration has had to cancel all the grandiose plans for our future return to space, including Il Buce's surrealistic parody of John F. Kennedy's announcement of a moon program: you know, the one where he punched the air and said, "We're on the way to Mars! Send in now for your magic decoder ring!"

The truth is that this became impossible when Il Buce quite deliberately bankrupted the nation by throwing away large parts of the nation's revenues, first in the form of giving massive tax cuts to folk who earn more in a minute than you or I can hope to earn in a year, second by declaring at least one and arguably two unnecessary wars.

Economics 101: If you've already squandered all your allowance on candy, you are not in the strongest position to mount a Mars expedition.

Which leads me back to these pouting Apollo astronauts. Where were they when Bush was spending all the money that might have been used to fund a return to the moon? Why did they not object when he made it fiscally impossible to continue the manned space program? Where were all their principled objections, their stump speeches, their impassioned op-eds?

They're not-the-fuck anywhere, are they?

I don't really blame all these bozoes for not speaking out when it could have made a difference: these are astronauts, after all, not goddam rocket scientists. (Oh, wait a . . .) I do blame them a lot, though, for claiming that what's actually the fault (at least in part) of their own acquiescent silence a few years ago is the fault of the Obama Administration now. That's intellectual dishonesty of the bottom-of-the-barrel kind.

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
artykat
Mar. 13th, 2010 04:49 am (UTC)
This is such a good post that I'm nearly speechless! I *did* however punch the air a few times.

Well said.
realthog
Mar. 13th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)

. . . punched it such that it knows it got punched, I trust!
daisytells
Mar. 13th, 2010 05:29 am (UTC)
Correct as usual, friend!
intertribal
Mar. 13th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC)
While I've never quite understood the appeal of manned spaceflight (over unmanned), I do agree with your overall sentiment.
realthog
Mar. 13th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)

For me, the great appeal of manned spaceflight is that *I* could be the one going there: just the thought of my standing on the surface of another world makes my flesh tingle.

Well, of course, I couldn't be the one doing the traveling; but the prospect of others doing it is the next best thing, allowing me to do the traveling vicariously, as it were.

Others may have different reasons for finding manned exploration exciting, but that's mine.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )