Want a good reason for BIG science, you know, the kind Thomas Jefferson advocated when he spent three mil for the Louisiana Territory, then spent an outlandish amount of money to send Lewis and Clark on one of the most important scientific expeditions in history?
Well – how about locating planet killer asteroids, while we can do something about it?
The problem is, we can’t. Oh, the technology is there. We have the science right. We just don’t have the national will, and decent leadership in the White House. The current incompetent leadership doesn’t give a rip about space exploration. They will fight to their death to create entitlements for contraceptives, but don’t care about our future.
Several debates ago, Mitt Romney rudely and ignorantly made fun of a very technological, accurate and highly doable vision for space exploration from Newt Gingrich. So did Rick Santorum. The Pink Flamingo would like to say, the joke is on Santorum and Romney for being so blindly ill-informed about the benefits of a strong program of space exploration and development. The problem is, though, that the joke, I fear, is on us.
The joke is that, once upon a time, we lived in a nation that valued the advance of science and technology as an end in itself. Sure, national pride was part of the factor, but we were excited by the thrill of discovery.
Today, though, thanks to the endless entitlement programs and an endless lack of vision or concern about anything but their own political future, the Dems have betrayed our future. They began that process under Jimmy Carter, and have just been giving it the old heave ho ever since.
Now, though, we have the libertarian leaning right who doesn’t give a damn about anything but their own needs. They want to stop spending money, which is a good thing. The problem is, they don’t comprehend that sometimes you must spend money to save and make money.
About a year from now, our humble little planet, Earth, is going to have a close encounter with an asteroid. There are two schools of thought about it.
I’m not quite sold on the Pollyanna theory that it will pose no danger. When it is scheduled to pass below satellites that are in Geosynchronous orbit, that’s a big fat hairy deal. (Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale)
“…Whatever the mission, building a spaceship to deal with 2012 DA14 will take two years – at least. The asteroid has proven a bitter discovery. It has been circling in orbit for three years already, crossing Earth’s path several times, says space analyst Sergey Naroenkov from the Russian Academy of Sciences. It seems that spotting danger from outer space is still the area where mere chance reigns, while asteroid defense systems exist only in drafts. Still, prospects of meeting 2012 DA14 are not all doom and gloom.“The asteroid may split into pieces entering the atmosphere. In this case, most part of it will never reach the planet’s surface,” remarks Dunham. But if the entire asteroid is to crash into the planet, the impact will be as hard as in the Tunguska blast, which in 1908 knocked down trees over a total area of 2,150 sq km (830 sq miles) in Siberia. This is almost the size of Luxembourg. In today’s case, the destination of the asteroid is yet to be determined….”
So, do you know anything about Tunguska? I sure bet Newt does.
This is the aftermath.
“… The most powerful natural explosion in recent Earth history occurred on 1908 June 30 when a meteor exploded above the Tunguska River in Siberia, Russia. Detonating with an estimated power 1,000 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima, the Tunguska event leveled trees over 40 kilometers away and shook the ground in a tremendous earthquake. Eyewitness reports are astounding. The above picture was taken by a Russian expedition to the Tunguska site almost 20 years after the event, finding trees littering the ground like toothpicks. Estimates of the meteor’s size range from 60 meters to over 1000 meters in diameter. Recent evidence suggests that nearby Lake Cheko may even have been created by the impact. Although a meteor the size of the Tunguska can level a city, metropolitan areas take up such a small fraction of the Earth’s surface that a direct impact on one is relatively unlikely. More likely is an impact in the water near a city that creates a dangerous tsunami. One focus of modern astronomy is to find Solar System objects capable of creating such devastation well before they impact the Earth….”
There is a very serious bottom line here. If you have no other reason to vote for Newt Gingrich THIS is the MOST important reason of all – space, science, and technology.
Until the 1960, humankind feared the night sky, and the dangers that came from space. Once the Space Race began, we began to cast aside our primitive fears. We were on something of a star trek. There was literally no limit to what we could accomplish as a nation.
Unfortunately, Democrats began playing playing politics with our future. It was no longer about what we could accomplish, but what they could spend to buy votes. There were simply not enough votes in the space constituency. So, we lost.
Newt Gingrich wants to revive our future. He is our only hope.