If you were around on this date in history, 44 years ago, where were you on this day, July 20th?
I remember it like yesterday. On the 16th, I watched a rocket take off -- this was THE DEFINITIVE MOON SHOT...This one HAD to go! There was no way around it -- There were risks...
I remember it: I was in Buffalo, MN, on Lake Pulaski, on that hot summer day. I was singing to myself about Apollo 11...I still remember the words "Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed."
Oh, the excitement that day. Bicentennial fever hadn't yet taken hold, and wouldn't even begin to take hold until 5 years later. There was something about that day, though...you can't quantify it unless you were there!
But now...NASA is undergoing budget cuts for years and now the government is trying to cut even more. The Republicans want the budget CUT, the DFL wants the money directed for "Social" pursuits... I, for one, am disgusted!
It costs millions or billions of dollars to send up a satellite these days. We are reaching a point where the Earth won't be able to take much more...not in climate change, but in maximum productivity. Certain resources are scarce as it is; it is reaching a point where we need to have more. But what can be done if the Government keeps slashing NASA'S funds?
TRUE: The Government is not required to fund NASA. But they founded it; they should fund...to a point.
We've checked out our solar system pretty well, now. There seems to be no indication of life on the other worlds; we are alone in the solar system. But we still need room, we need places to grow crops, we need more metals, more oil, more water, more land. These are givens.
I am not, really, in favor of a Mars colony, nor a moon base. The ISS has served its purpose, but it is reaching the end of its useful life. We need to be able to shield ourselves against Solar Flares, Cosmic Rays, and Rogue meteors and comets. We can't do that if NASA has no budget!
We need faster rockets, safer methods of travel. And despite my opposition to a permanent Lunar base and Martian colony, I see the necessity. But it also leads to great isolation of the people where they go.
There is talk of breaking the light-speed barrier. I have doubts that this can be done, but the work, theoretical though it is, must continue. There are too many variables in our world, there will be more elsewhere. We have yet to find a habitable world. We MUST explore; it is our nature! We must grow or perish. This is the reason we need to continue to fund, and fund well, our space program.
AS I SEE IT, if we do not continue our outreach, we are condemning ourselves to extinction. Dinosaurs could not leave the planet, and then one day they were no more because of a hit by a large meteorite. Earth has been hit numerous times, only a few were E.L.E (Extinction Level Event). We have the knowledge, the ability, the technology, to move forward and reach out. But Congress is slowly killing us, and other nations such as India, China, North Korea, and the like, are moving out... and we, the ones who first set foot on our only natural satellite of size, are sitting on our duffs.
We can't land on Jupiter; it's gas, there is no place to land. We can't land on Saturn, ditto, but it's even farther out. It takes 29 of our years for Saturn to orbit once, Jupiter takes 12. Venus is too hot, even if we could tame the environment, the atmosphere is toxic.
What's left? It would take 4 years to reach the nearest star other than our own sun. We need fast, and that is at light speed!
It still takes 3 days to reach the moon. If we can cut our time to, say, 10 hours, We'll have made tremendous progress.
The Moon MUST remain as a "jumping off" point. Mars MUST be colonized. There's really no way around it.
44 Years ago, we had a major success -- but we've rested on our laurels since 1972. Technology has advanced -- but our engines are just as primitive as they were. This isn't progress; it's stagnation!
I plead with Congress and the President: FUND NASA FULLY. Get the engines up to snuff. Get the bases and colonies started. It is the only way we can survive as a PEOPLE...AS I SEE IT!
The Apollo program is over. We need motivation. WE need another JFK to get the ball rolling. And that president, be it man or woman, MUST strive for full funding...or else. Let's triple what we give 'em now. And let's watch the miracles happen!