50 years ago today the space race began with a basketball size satellite named Sputnik that sent waves of terror through the hearts of Americans. 12 years later we would win the space race when Neal Armstrong jumped down the ladder of his lunar expedition module and misquoted the words he had planned on saying: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
So what has NASA done since then? Well, the answer to that is really very simple (and this is just my opinion, boys and girls) NASA hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot.
Well, they did manage to kill two shuttle crews. And for what? To keep a shuttle that is 20 years out of date flying? I mean come on! In 12 years (1957 to 1969) we went from no space program at all to landing on the moon. The first shuttle launch, Columbia (STS-1) happened April 12, 1981. I remember watching it on television. It was an exciting day. There were promises of monthly shuttle missions, to do wacky new things in space. That was… (let me do the math here)… 26 and a half years ago, and still we only get a couple of launches off every year. And, I have to be honest here, they have done some good things. They were able to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, and… ummm… they… well… they built that giant PR factory in space… what do they call it? The ISS. Ya, that’s one big pile of junk… I mean… big accomplishment… ya.
People have always been explorers. We have always wanted to push the boundaries of our world. And our world is getting smaller and smaller everyday. I can send pictures and files to people on the other side of the world with a push of a button. There was a time when an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean was looked upon like we look at a trip to Mars. We need to explore and NASA is holding us back. I’m no rocket scientist, but it can’t be as hard as they’re making it. There are people like Dr. Robert Zubrin of the Mars society, who have viable ideas to get us to Mars, but NASA just won’t listen.
12 years from Earth bound to the Moon. There is no reason why we couldn’t do that again. Here are my recommendations to NASA
- NASA needs to regain their vision.
- Ground those antique shuttles before they get someone else killed.
- Abandon the ISS and let it fall into the ocean.
- Start listening to the Mars Society and other smart folk like that.
- Get with the POTUS and set a 10-year plan. They did the moon in the 60’s with slide rules… I think that we can do Mars in less time with what we have today.
- If international help is needed… do it. Get with the Brits, the Japanese, the French… (well, maybe not the French), the Russians and divide up the work.
- Pick a crew, and a back-up crew and get it done.
50 years ago, today, the space race began and ushered in a new age. The universe changed forever that day. We were no longer bound to the Earth, and for a short time we were able to dream of where we would be going… and then… I don’t know why, but we crawled inside our earthbound prison and shut the door. We were able to look out though the bars, but knowing that we will never leave, we gave up.