I want my flying cars! I was promised flying cars!

As points out on his journal, today is the thirty-seventh anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing.

Yeah, I still cry when I hear the landing audio and Armstrong’s first words. And as every year passes, the reason for the tears change from joy and pride and amazement to depression and sorrow and anger.

Because every year that passes says louder and louder what we have not done as a nation and as a species. We got ten men to the moon on an equal mix of ingenuity, Cold War politics, and raw chutzpah.

And we haven’t gone back in thirty five years. There’s a little three year window you had to live in, in order to know what it really means to land on the Moon. Too young? Too bad. It’s a history lesson, no more.

My nieces deserve to see what I saw, and given technological advances since, the view would be so much better.

It’s an embarrassment to our entire species that we haven’t gone back in thirty five years. Anyone my age or thereabouts and older will remember: Permanent moonbase by 1980-1985. Mars by 1990-2000. After that, who knows? Back when Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey looked like a well thought out and reasonable future, and only thirty years away, it’ll be amazing! Five years after the events in that movie, and we’re being told that the ISS will just have to make do because a certain moron in Washington thinks our money is better spent on a war we didn’t have to fight and on people who are already rich. Forget Pan-Am (out of business now anyway) and a great Ferris wheel of a space station. Forget the Moon and Mars. Oh, he talked about going back to the Moon, but it’s bullshit–you’ll notice that he hasn’t mentioned it since. It’s noise to try and make himself sound “enlightened”–but look at the numbers. He hasn’t committed the budget necessary and he won’t. It’s more bullshit.

Fucking right I’m bitter. We haven’t gone back in thirty five years. There are people who have lived and died entirely in that interval, never having seen a landing for themselves, knowing it only from videotape.

We haven’t gone back in thirty five years. Roll that thought around for a while in your head. Think about exactly what that says about our country, and about our world.

The Chinese are planning to go. I can’t wait to see it. I want them to shame the West into action again. More power to ya, Burt Rutan and Robert Bigelow. I’m far less concerned about space being privatized or commercialized than I am about space being just fucking closed. We haven’t gone back in thirty five years. Washington isn’t going to do it while their concept of long-term planning means thinking about what they might like for lunch–dinner is too far off to contemplate. Hell, corporations will probably be more careful at this point.

Ad astra, my friends, ad astra. My perspective takes in a whole lot more than this insignificant ball of rock, and I’m goddamn tired of the limitation.

And because we haven’t gone back in thirty five years.


14 comments so far

  1. jayteeone on

    And sadder still, the planet grows enough food to feed the entire planet, but the rich nations are unwilling to what it takes to keep people from starving. Like space we have the ability, we lack the will.

    • That’s because the poor can’t cover the profit margins the corporations expect. Only companies have rights to survival anymore–people sure don’t.

  2. khavrinen on

    the reason for the tears change from joy and pride and amazement to depression and sorrow and anger.

    This is why I enjoyed Michael Flynn’s “Firestar” series so much, because he does a very good job of re-capturing that joy & pride & amazement, and making you believe, at least for a little while, that someday we might begin again. *sigh* And then I finish the book, and look out into the “real” world again…

  3. sailormac on

    I remember moon landings when I was *very* little — they were a Very Big Deal. Makes you wonder nowadays why the hell they even bothered. given what little progress has been made since then.

    And before they do anything else, NASA needs to SCRAP THAT SPACE SHUTTLE and come up with a more reliable vehicle. Two major disasters, countless scapped and delayed launches and near-misses . . . the damn thing’s a turkey, and it’s about time they admitted it.

    • The thing is, I don’t think they can scrap it until the replacement is in place, unless we want our ticket to space to be limited to the Soyuz capsule.

      The Shuttle, of course, was sold partly on the idea that it would be able to dock with Skylab and pull it to a higher, more stable orbit.


      The problem has been less with the shuttle than with NASA management and overconfidence (or protective stupidity). Challenger should never have flown that day–and to this day, I believe that the order to get it off the ground came from the White House so Reagan could make a headline-grabbing phone call to Christa McAuliffe during his State of the Union address. I can’t prove it, I have no evidence, but I believe it because it’s so depressingly plausible.

  4. nuveeena on


    The moon just fascinates me. I continue to be surprised that the U.S. has not yet tried to make either a weapon or a storage unit out of it. It looks just like the Death Star to me, especially with that one big ass crater on it. Apparently, it is well-suited for this use. brr.

    Apollo 15 passive Seismic experiment –

    “…the Moon has a crust, mantle, and core. The lunar crust is rich in the mineral plagioclase and has an average crustal thickness of 60-70 kilometers, which is about 3 times the average crustal thickness on Earth.

    It has a hard plagioclase shell. Some kind of candy.

    “The lunar mantle lies between the crust and the core and consists mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene.

    I had that at an Italian restaurant once. It was deelish. Really, olivene in refined form is peridot; really pretty greens. And the pyroxenes…

    http://www.cas.usf.edu/~jryan/moonrocks.html (good stuff here)

    “The core is probably…

    (meaning, probably)

    “composed mostly of iron and sulfur and extends from the center of the Moon out to a radius of no more than 450 kilometers; i.e., the core radius is less than 25% of the Moon’s radius, which is quite small. In comparison, Earth’s core radius is 54% of Earth’s radius.”

    The moon has a small center made of chewy nougat. Since we’re both guessing.


    Highly entertaining moon wackiness – http://www.greatdreams.com/moon/darkmoon.htm

    Sorry, got off on a tangent…

  5. argh_jim on

    I’m trapped in a world before later on,
    I’m trapped in a world before later on,

    Where’s my hovercraft?
    Where’s my jet pack?
    Where’s the font of acquired wisdom that eludes me now?

    We’re trapped in a world before later on,
    We’re trapped in a world before later on,

    Where’s our telray?
    Where’s our space face?
    Where are all the complications we won’t see around?

  6. argh_jim on

    On the plus side, my space-obsessed son (7 yo on Saturday) told me on his own today what was special about July 20, 1969.

    And I remember watching it on our B&W TV (3 yo).

  7. avon_deer on

    No offense intended here, but I have always been very cynical about the US’s real motives for space exploration. It was then and always will be, about commie bashing and flag waving. You might find more government interest in space when the Chinese start exploring. The neo-con’s plans for total spectrum dominance cannot be put in danger for anything. No doubt the UK will be left holding the baby again.

    Also bare in mind that Bush, like most Christians, does not want to explore space too much. Far too worried about what we might find up there.

    • Oh, there’s no denying that the space race was as much about the Cold War and missile technology as anything else. But dammit, we did it… and we’ve taken that triumph and peed it down our collective leg.

      As for what Dumbass wants, he can go fuck himself. My plans for humanity encompass far more than his pathetic, narrow view. The only thing he cares about is the post-office payoff he’s thinking his rich buddies are gonna give him for gutting the American economy for their short-term (and undeserved) profit. I want and expect more than that from the human species.

      • avon_deer on

        I hope we end up going back as well. The ISS is a decent project, which could really do with more support.

        • The ISS had plenty of support, until Dumbass came along and essentially declared it finished as-is. Maybe we can get more money for it if we can get one of the cable channels to host “Celebrity Space Station Makeover”. ;)

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