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September 19, 2005

NASA: “Hey, Lets Go Back To the Moon! No, It’ll Be Just As Bitchin As It Was 30 Years Ago. The Moooooon. Yeah, Try Sayin It Like That. THE MOOOOON! No, Really…”

Throwing their hands up in the air, as if to say “I’ve Got Nothin,” NASA, today, announced we’ll return the Moon. Yep. Men on the Moon. By 2018. And to think they said it couldn’t be done.

NyTimes:

Using a new craft similar to a scaled-up Apollo command capsule and new rockets largely made up of components from the space shuttle program, he said, Americans can re-establish themselves on the moon for 55 percent of the inflation-adjusted cost for the first moon-landing program, which put a dozen men on the lunar surface from 1969 to 1972….

NASA said the new crew vehicle would be 10 times safer than the space shuttle, partly because it will have escape rockets that could jettison the capsule away from the booster rocket in the event of an accident. The space agency puts the existing failure rate for space shuttles at 1-in-220, compared with 1-in-2,000 for the new vehicle.

Great, cause nothing fires the imagination like a safer, inflation adjusted, cost efficient retread of something we lost interest in 50 years before.


Now, I suppose it could be justified, arguing we’ll be developing technologies, putting a system in place we can expand upon fairly easily should we one day decide to go to Mars. But again, that assumes we really want to go to Mars.

But do we? I’m sorry to say it, but NASA, for me, you really sort of topped out when we originally put a man on the moon. Fantastic, but you really had nowhere to go but down, no possible second act. Everything was gonna be a letdown after that. (Just between you and me, the Space Shuttle? Meh.)

That isn’t to take anything away from it. Man on the moon? Wow. The first time And we were the first. (America. "We're number one!") And time will pass and civilizations will rise and fall, ours included, but we’ll always have your contribution in the Great Encyclopedia of History. Open it up. America, A, right there at the beginning. What does it say first sentence? "First nation to put man on the moon." So, thanks NASA.

But the moon again? Mars? What’s the big deal? You proved the concept. We get it. If for some reason, we do decide to go to Mars, it’ll simply be because we’re too insecure to let China do it first (Lord knows they’ll be dropping it into conversation all the time. "Yeah, America, that reminds me of the time we put men on Mars..." ) Not a noble reason to go on funding a huge gov. agency, is it?

Look, I don’t know what the next big thing is - the thing that’ll replace “man on the moon” in the phrase, ‘If they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they…” But it ain’t Mars, and it damn sure ain’t ‘moon again.’

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posted by Dr. Reo Symes at 09:28 PM

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