Monday, July 20, 2009

The final frontier

As we all know, this year marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most incredible achievements in human history.

But I don't want to write about the '69 New York Mets winning the World Series.

I want to talk about outer space.

After all, it was on this date 40 years ago that Neil Armstrong found a giant monolith on the moon, which caused his computer to go crazy and a giant baby to float in space.

Wait, that was 2001 Space Odyssey.

Which leads me to another question: Why is it in the year 2009 - a full eight years after 2001 -- we don't have lunar colonies or massive hotel-like space stations that emit Beethoven symphonies?

Instead all we have is the Space Shuttle, basically a glorified space taxi, except real taxis probably have a better safety record.

What's wrong? Why are we not going bolder where no man has gone before?

Maybe the problem is that our space efforts are a government operation.

In my younger more naive days, I belonged to a group called the L5 Society, which pushed the idea of private sector space colonization.

But I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon.

That's why these days I am much less of a space enthusiast. Seems to me the idea of travelling to other planets is nothing but a pipe dream, that's not really worth the expense of tax dollars.

On the bright side, I understand aliens with futuristic space technology have landed which may enable us to travel faster than the speed of light.

Wait, that was the plot of Star Trek: First Contact.


Anonymous said...

I read that 400,000 technicans scientists, and engineers worked on the Apollo flight to the moon. 20,000 companies and universities were included. It cost ONE TRILLION dollars. For what? A couple of lbs of moon rocks. And now they want to do it again. Can someone tell me why?

Iain G. Foulds said...

... The true frontier is digging deep the foundations of our world based upon the values of individual liberty- freeing ourselves of the regressive principles of social and economic collectivism.

Anonymous said...

nah the true frontier is fighting robots in space

Anonymous said...

"And now they want to do it again. Can someone tell me why?"

Out of the space race, and the need to make things small and light, came micro-chips, the advance in computer technology, weather and communications satellites, GPS, digital cameras and don't forget Tang powder orange juice.

Anonymous said...

It seems strange to some that the americans will spend trillions of their tax dollars putting a man into space and for the Iraq war but very little for its citizens without health care coverage.