Just in case you’re wondering, this is not an update on Pink Floyd. With apologies to Roger, Nick, Richard, and David – this is a commentary on a sad day in American history. Yesterday, July 21, 2011 marked the end of an era in US Space Flight with the final landing of the shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is one of the most significant decisions in US aerospace exploration and defense and the attention paid to it by the general public is shameful. Gone are the days of dreaming of the USA being the first to land a man on Mars. The Russians, Chinese, and Indians are hot on that pursuit. The Earth is now gate kept by the Russians – think that will have any impact on our relations? We all better pray to the Lord the themes like those from the movies Deep Impact and Armageddon never become true. If they do, I do not want my hide relying on the Kremlin or the Chinese to save us.
As much as I would like to lay this at the feet of Obama, I can’t. Not that he has not added his personal touch in further relegating NASA to the sideline, but this rotten egg was laid by Barry’s predecessor Bush 43. Every President from Kennedy to Reagan knew the importance of the Space Program. Since Reagan, the attitude has been subdued at best. Bush 41 and Clinton cut NASA with the military, as if it were one and the same. Bush 43 killed the shuttle program in 2005 after the investigation of the 2003 crash of Columbia. Hmm, that’s not exactly correct. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board made return-to-flight recommendation — modify the space shuttle external tank to prevent it from shedding insulating foam. NASA was supposed to replace the shuttle with a new craft to get the job done. However, instead of heading back into deep space and exploring the last frontier for the US and mankind, Bush 43 pushed a new directive to return to the Moon for further exploration.
That’s right – the Moon. The same one we landed on in 1969 and frequented in the early 1970’s. The same one that short of a defense post against aggression and some neat mining benefits does not hold a great deal of hope of further colonization for mankind. I still have no clue why W felt the agency should head this way, with his dad claiming Houston as home. One would think the Bush’s would want Houston to continue to kick butt for NASA. If someone has an answer – please share it.
I have a few core areas that I am a fan of government investment for research and development and space is one of them. I want private enterprise investing as well, even partnering with NASA on projects. What I cannot stand is to see what has been, along with the US Military, one of the few bright spots in the US Government be turned into mush. If Obama wanted to actually create government jobs in NASA that will actually benefit the US and the world, I would applaud it. We need engineers, physicists, and mathematicians working on projects that would have the aerospace and related industries building more spacecraft and support parts. That would employ more people who would need homes, buy cars, etc. Reality is that Barry will never invest in NASA as he sees it as part of the American Colonization Machine that he hates so dearly. That is one of the reasons he has not released to Congress the new design NASA has been working on in response to The Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendations.
There are some long-term realities that humanity will have to face in future centuries in that we have a good shot on having a bit of a population issue. Unlike the liberals, NAZI’s, Chinese, and other population control freaks of the world – I believe God endowed mankind with the intelligence to create, engineer, and build the required technologies to live beyond the borders of the Earth. The Universe is too vast to be merely dreamed about. It demands exploration. Mars is the next step and enough research has come forward from the efforts of NASA that the creation of an atmosphere is not beyond the realm of developing technologies. However, you have to be able to transport people and machines to make it happen.
Does NASA have a future? Reality demands a healthy yes, albeit not in this current White House Administration. The US has led in this area for too long, mistakes and all, to simply quit the game. The current direction of NASA is not just taking a step back, but stepping back into a cave in aerospace darkness. It is a direction that is unsustainable for US defense, exploration, and potential colonization efforts.
Like the Conservative Agenda we are currently fighting to re-claim in the local, state, and federal legislative chambers, a day will come when we can re-claim the lead in the Space Race. Until then, we have to live with the dark side of the Moon.