Have you ever stopped to consider what might happen in space exploration if the Koch Machine had money riding on it?
Have you ever stopped to consider why Christopher Columbus made his fateful voyages to the New World? No, he wasn’t heading to the New World, he was seeking a quicker way to the markets of the East – and their vast riches that needed to be exploited. Oh, sure there were many other reasons, enough to fill numerous books, but it was all about money and exploration. Exploration has always been based on one of two things, and maybe both: money & military. For much of human history, they worked hand in sword so to speak. Today, though, we have the opportunity to explore – not for military – but for science, for the joy of exploring, and for the possibility of making a buck or two.
Once upon a time, we could always count on Democrats to do what ever was necessary – to slash NASA’s budget. Oh, how times have changed. Now, Senate Democrats have decided to reinvest in America’s future and put money into NASA and science. Sure, it’s just a ploy to make the GOP in the House look bad, but heck, they don’t need any help. Sure, NASA has its problems, but there are some things the government does, fairly well, considering all the faults, and one of them is space exploration – boldly going where no one has gone before, and so forth and so on.
This photo from the Politico says it all. Once proud NASA, under the auspices of austerity and Randian economics, has become as tarnished as this logo.
House Democrats are proposing that the lunar locations where the Apollo craft landed be named national parks. Naturally, the far right is making fun of the idea. They shouldn’t. By turning the locations into national parks, it is entirely possible that the Democrats are more far-sighted than far right libertarian, austerity idiots will ever be.
If the locations where Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 are listed as national historical parks, then that automatically establishes the United States claim to the territory around said historical parks as well – United States Territory. There’s only one problem. We’ve already renounced doing just this, by treaty.
Two brave women in Congress have had the vision to understand what is going on here.
“…On Monday, Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) proposed creating the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park. They say the designation is necessary to protect the spots where the Apollo 11 through 17 missions (minus Apollo 13, which was aborted) landed on the moon between 1969 and 1972, as well as all the artifacts the 12 astronauts who walked on the moon left behind.
The idea of preserving the Apollo missions is not entirely new. In 1984 the National Air and Space Museum asked NASA to hand over control of the Apollo lunar artifacts. “Although there are, at present, no plans for return visits to the moon, it is certain as anything that someday man will return,” said the museum’s director at the time, Walter J. Boyne “When he does, it is imperative that the historic and scientific significance of all remnants of earlier, pioneering exploration efforts be fully appreciated and respected.”
In the past, the National Park Service has rejected the idea, in part because of one inconvenient fact: The moon does not belong to the U.S.
However, the proposed bill — the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, H.R. 2617 — says that the time for action is running out. “As commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the Moon,” the bill says, “it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity.”
The measure would give the government clearance to accept donations to manage the sites, and “provide visitor services and administrative facilities within reasonable proximity to the Historical Park.” Edwards and Bernice Johnson — both members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee — might not get the bill passed, but that doesn’t mean the dream of establishing the park will die.
Space tourism is coming — the company Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, is already gearing up to take paying customers into low orbit. And when thrill-seeking vacationers finally do reach the moon, they are sure to flock to the Apollo sites the way they flock to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone here on Earth….”
There is no greater answer to the clarion call of why humans must explore space then Donna Edwards and Eddie Bernice Johnson and their bill calling for preservation of our landing sites. It’s there and tourists are figuring out a way to explore!
That is the main reason we must explore space, because it’s there! Oh, sure far right idiots don’t get it, but they never will, unless the Koch Machine is investing in it.
“...I’ll admit to being pretty much speechless about this proposal. The only thing I can think of is that our hebetudinous friends on the left believe there may be some natural resources up there that, if exploited, could result in global lunar warming or, worse, economic growth. The only way, in their minds, to prevent such a “catastrophe” is to establish government control over the moon by designating it a national park and put those resources off limits (see, for example, ANWR). No word on whether or not other countries will respect the Department of the Interior’s territorial claim or, for that matter, if there will be anyone (park rangers?) up there to enforce it. In any event, for those of you with Winnebagos, I’d get those reservations in ASAP. And keep in mind those lunar campsites will most likely be designated primitive, so don’t expect electrical hook-ups or hot showers….”
The beauty of space exploration is now part of our world-wide consciousness, as seen in this absolutely beautiful video from the opening of the World University Games.
On this day, in 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped forth on a new world. The future of this nation was as bright as the reflection of that newly inhabited world, right back at us. They sparked the imagination of an entire generation.
Eventually, the only logical way to explore, conquer, and tame the next frontier is via private enterprise – I like that word – ENTERPRISE. When discussing space and the exploration of space, it’s such a beautiful word, as in these are the voyages of…
It is a word that is perfect for our world, today.
We don’t need heavy handed government sponsored exploration of the Moon and maybe even Mars. Sure, they need to help us get there, but once that ENTERPRISING Joe or Jane Blow figures out that he or she can make a buck on the Moon, trust me, it’s all about ENTERPRISE. He or she will figure out a way to exploit that product and make that buck, no matter how dangerous it is.
One of our problems is the fact that the modern American has the attention span of a sugared up two year old. We forget that Columbus did his thing in 1492, and Jamestown wasn’t founded until 1607. Sir. Walter Raleigh founded Roanoke Colony in 1587, but that ended badly. There were numerous expeditions to the New World, but the first permanent settlement, St. Augustine was not founded until 1565. If you follow that template, we’re not even ‘behind’ their pace of exploring!
If you know your history, going to the New World was basically deadly. People died. It was horribly dangerous, almost a death sentence. The rewards, were more than even Han Solo could imagine, if the intrepid explorer survived the voyage, disease, starvation, hostiles, the voyage home, and the wrath of who ever was in power and coveted the riches that person brought back to Europe. Yet – they kept on keeping on, no matter what, seeking out that new world, boldly going where no European had gone before (unless you are an advocate of pre Columbian European exploration the way I am).
Going into space is not easy. It is deadly. We live in a world where a little kid can’t even play on a swing without wearing a helmet. You can’t eliminate the risk from everything – especially the exploration of space. We explore it because it’s there. We need to move the human race out into space because it is our only real future.