Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"Nothing to Moon Over"

     Let's see..."what" happened 35 years ago?  Oh,yeah.  Man first stepped foot on the moon.  Which led to----?

     Well, of course , it really gave technology a kick in the ass.  If the U.S. hadn't been trying to beat the Ruskies in the Space Race, they'd never tried to make computers smaller and smaller.  If nothing else we can thank this country's ego trip for the pc's we are now enjoying, as well as other great advances in technology (such as micro-surgery).

     But where did it really get us?  What did this country...and the world...get out of the moon flights besides a couple of buckets of rocks?  The moon is supposingly rich in many valuable minerals but there's this problem in getting them: it's 1/2 a million miles away in an unlivable atmosphere in a dead chuck of rock.  And believe me, if there's minerals of extreme value there, someone somewhere would have already been back on Luna by now finding some way to dig 'em up!

     Do we rack up what has been termed the greatest achievement of mankind in the 20th. Century as "man's quest forever to explore"?  An adventure just to see "what's on the other side of the mountain"? If so, we're simply talking about yet another ego trip.  There's not much there worth exploring.  I don't think anyone would ever want to live on the moon.  Be rather hard to homestead.  Hey!  We didn't even claim a stake for property rights.

     And exactly "what" has it done for space exploration in general?  Astronauts visited the moon a 1/2 dozen times...then Stopped!  We haven't been back there in 30 years (although I'm sure nothing has changed).  We've concentrated on space shuttle flights and space stations , and sending robots to Mars, and vehicles to look at comets, and huge telescopes to look at distant galaxies, and I'm sure we've leaned a whole lot from all of this and probably quite a bit to help mankind. 

     I guess.

     But, in a way, landing on the moon ended so many things as well.  It seemed to be a crushing blow AGAINST space exploration simply because, "been there---DONE that.  Nothing there; quit wasting tax money.  Our dreams are now fulfilled.  U.S.A. is No.1."

     And you know...IF we'd really wanted to put a man on, say, Mars, we could have already done that by now.  I think the general population just can't think of a good reason "why" it should be done.  Perhaps they think there's too many problems on our OWN planet that should be addressed before we play Capt. Kirk and fly off again into outer space.

     I'm not sure if...maybe they're not right.


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