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To the Moon & Mars!

January 26, 2012
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“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”  Ronald Reagan

Do you have a loved one who has had their life saved by the latest in elector-cardio machinery?  The reason that person is alive is because of all that allegedly wasted money at NASA.  You know that cochlear implant Rush Limbaugh has?  It came from NASA.

Have you seen those amazing artificial limbs our heroes are getting?  That’s NASA technology too.  So is your GPS, digital SLR, dust buster, freeze-dried food, memory foam, space blankets, the latest in firefighting equipment, enriched baby foots, water purification.

Do you have a satellite dish?  Do you have a cell phone?  Ever had your life saved by medical imaging?  What about all those really cool plastics? Thermal gloves and boots are another spinoff. So are LED lights.

Do you have a space pen?  You know those shock absorbing helmets football players wear?  They invented the fail-safe flashlight, invisible braces for your teeth, and joystick controllers for video games.  Life rafts used for the Apollo program now save hundreds of lives.  Even NASCAR is using NASA invented technology.

Do you have a relative on kidney dialysis?  Gotta love those anti-glare sunglasses.  Know anyone with a miniature heart pump?  Advanced semiconductors?  Imaging technology makes breast biopsies more accurate.  Infra-red cameras created for the shuttle program check for forest fires.  Really cool jaws of life are created to save lives in car crashes.    Robots save cops as bomb detectors.

If you are reading this post, it is because of NASA.  So, don’t let me hear any of that liberal or libertarian complaining about space exploration.  We live in our modern cell phone world because of NASA.  If it were not for NASA, our economy would be in the stone age.

Just because we can blame the Speedo on NASA is no reason to shut down all of space exploration.

Problem Solving Gechnques

Mitt Romney wants yet another commission to determine what needs to be done in space.  We’ve been having one commission after another since the early 1980s. They accomplish nothing.  What Romney is saying is nothing.  It means nothing.  It is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.  He obviously knows nothing on this subject.  Sorry, but his approach is pure crap.

“…“Well, I happen to believe our space program is important not only for science, but also for commercial development and for military development,” Romney said. “And I believe the right mission for — for NASA should be determined by a president together with a collection of people from those different areas, from NASA, from the Air Force space program, from our leading universities, and from commercial enterprises, bring them together, discuss a wide range of options for NASA, and then — and then have NASA not just funded by the federal government, but also by commercial enterprises. Have some of the research done in our universities.”…”

The Pink Flamingo has been waiting for this day since December 2, 1980.   Jim Muncy, who is interviewed in this piece, was there the first time I went to DC to lobby for space exploration.  I started in Newt’s basement office.

The most exciting part of this is that Newt has not dumped those who were around working with him when he and Bob Walker co-founded the Congressional Space Caucus!

“...The idea would save Washington hundreds of billions of dollars, says top Gingrich adviser and ex-Pennsylvania Rep. Bob Walker.  “It may well be that if we put a prize on the table that encouraged entrepreneurs and adventurers to go do it – and develop all the technologies – that we ought to offer them a prize that would be worth their while.”

Now age 68, Gingrich’s generation came of age as America’s space program triumphed over troubled growing pains to achieve historic orbital successes during the Mercury and Gemini manned space missions.

Those who know Gingrich well say he sees space exploration in sweeping historical terms – a new frontier as important as the Old West and comparable to the building of the transcontinental railroad.

“He’s not for tripling the NASA budget,” says James Muncy, longtime Gingrich adviser and friend. “He’s for investing in space in a way that will open the frontier and make it possible for more and more Americans over time to go live there and work there and prosper there.”..”

Knowing Newt Gingrich, he is well aware that we are entering what The Pink Flamingo considers the saddest week of the year.  Forty-five years ago tomorrow, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee died aboard the Apollo 1 test capsule in a tragic fire.   Friday will mark the twenty-sixth anniversary of the explosion of Challenger.  The Columbia disintegrated in re-entry nine years ago on the first.  It would not surprise me at all to know that he chose this specific time frame for a major policy speech about the exploration of space.  I think it may be the first real policy speech on a positive agenda for the exploration of space in many years.

“…Well, the two are not incompatible. For example, most of the great breakthroughs in aviation in the ’20s and ’30s were as a result of prizes. Lindbergh flew to Paris for a $25,000 prize. I would like to see vastly more of the money spent encouraging the private sector into very aggressive experimentation. And I’d like a leaner NASA.

I don’t think building a bigger bureaucracy and having a greater number of people sit in rooms and talk gets you there. But if we had a series of goals that we were prepared to offer prizes for, there’s every reason to believe you have a lot of folks in this country and around the world who would put up an amazing amount of money and would make the space coast literally hum with activity because they’d be drawn to achieve these prizes.

Going back to the moon permanently, getting to Mars as rapidly as possible, building a series of space stations and developing commercial space, there are a whole series of things you can do that could be dynamic that are more than just better government bureaucracy. They’re fundamentally leapfrogging into a world where you’re incentivizing people who are visionaries and people in the private sector to invest very large amounts of money in finding very romantic and exciting futures….”

Light Years

Naturally the Newt haters at NRO are laughing at him.  That’s okay, they are a group of reactionary ignorant wretches who don’t have the brains to understand what a robust space program can do for this nation’s economy.  All they can do is lament spending, when real investment in the future will bring untold wealth through untold and unimagined technological developments.   I gather they are too abjectly stupid to even comprehend that, without JFK’s dream to go to the moon within the decade of the 1960s, there would be no Microsoft or Apple.  Do they even comprehend the wealth that would not exist if it were not for Kennedy’s vision?

I cannot spew epitaphs of disdain fast enough. Nor do I have the vocabulary to express, in four letter words, what I think of people who are so petty and so ignorant that they do not understand that the only future for America and for the human race is through space exploration?   All they care about is vomiting words of vitriol in order to keep their petty little careers going so they can scrape and bow before who ever it is who panders to them the most.

God Help Us All!

In 1492, only  one person in Europe had the vision to sponsor Columbus when he wanted to do a little exploring. The Queen of Spain had to pawn her jewels in order to pay for his expedition.  Her reward was more than even she could imagine. Both liberals and libertarians disagree with Newt.  That makes perfect sense.  The have always been on the losing side when it comes to grand ideas and space exploration.

“…But on Wednesday, Newt “grandiose is my middle name” [it isn’t] Gingrich took those truisms on to a whole new, extraplanetary level. Speaking to an audience on Florida’s Space Coast ahead of the state’s primary next week, the big-thinking Republican hopeful turned his science fiction fantasies into a hard and fast campaign promise.

“By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” he said. According to Talking Points Memo Gingrich went on to say that the base would be used for “science, tourism, and manufacturing” and to create a “robust industry” modelled on the airline business in the 20th century.

And from there, how could a president ever top that? Well, that would be a mission to Mars obviously, said Gingrich – or Newt Lightyear as my colleague Richard Adams has now dubbed him.

Some reporters in the room undoubtedly would have known that they were witnesses to a historic moment: Gingrich finally losing his mind. But that’s not how Newt saw things, according to Andrew Kaczynski from Buzzfeed Politics…”

TPM

As far as The Pink Flamingo is concerned, those who make fun of Newt’s plans for space exploration, a permanent base on the Moon and on to Mars are ignorant fools who don’t give a damn about the future of this planet or humanity.  Only pathetic little minds will drool over a bunch of numbers, when they have the evidence before them that one of the easiest ways to jump start our economy is with a space race.

Oh, what pathetic, ignorant, and stupid little creatures the doubters and naysayers are. Tell you what, just shut up and let those of us who know a little bit about space exploration and technology do what we’ve been waiting to do since the early 1980s.

NOTE TO THE FAR RIGHT:  You may make fun of Newt, but there are a hell of a lot more Trekkies, Star Wars fans, science fiction fans, and those who are interested in the future than there are ignorant little Ron Paul Bots and libertarian number crunchers.    The other day, on C-Span, I was watching a call-in interview with Newt.  Science fiction fans were calling in, discussing how they met him during the 1980s at various science fiction conventions!

When I was on the National Coordinating Committee for Space during those days, that was my job, setting up panels and speakers for all the big science fiction conferences and conventions.  My theory was to get the sci fi fan into space and register them to vote.

It worked.

I have waited thirty-two years for today’s speech.

If there is only one reason to support Newt Gingrich this is the reason.  He has held stead-fast to his promise, in 1981, to promote the exploration of space. Any politician who can hold fast to pledge for that long is quite remarkable.  Anyone who criticizes his dream of space exploration as impossible, grandiose, or too expensive is ignorant. They don’t know anything.  If they did, they would be supporting him and not criticizing him.

I’ve heard all the criticisms about him.  You know something, I don’t give a damn.  Today he kept his promise.  That’s all I need to know.

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