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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Make the Universe Great Again!



Friends, we get so entranced by the news of the day that we forget about the big picture sometimes.  I've long believed it was mankind's destiny to transcend the limits of this charming little planet and venture out among the stars.  As of the late 1960s, it probably seemed that we were hurdling towards that destiny at a breakneck pace.  No more.  Our zeal for space exploration abated in the 1970s, to be revived slightly by the space shuttle program in the 80s, but since then our momentum in space has been lost.  My latest article is a call to arms to the American people to support President Trump's ambitious agenda in space.  Fortunately, although progress has been slower than any space enthusiast would like, we will soon have a Space Launch System (SLS) that can propel us heavenward.  Personally, I can't wait, and I hope we'll devote the necessary resources to NASA to achieve interplanetary greatness ASAP!

Read all about it in Townhall:

https://townhall.com/columnists/nicholaswaddy/2018/09/23/thanks-to-trump-space-the-next-great-american-frontier-is-within-reach-n2521291

11 comments:

  1. Dr. Waddy: Please forgive my prolixity: I am grateful for this opportunity to express the viewpoint of a 71 year old, one of the last generation for whom human space travel was once pure (and we thought in 1957, distant) science fiction and for whom prolonged incursions into very near space by man made objects were an unanticipated wonder.

    I think the years since the monumental Apollo missions have seen immense progress in space exploration. A space station has been built, humans have survived over a year in space and space probes have explored all the planets and many of their moons and have exited the near Solar System. This is, to us, astounding!

    Now the fortuitous SLS, ( uniting as it does a fortuitous cooperation between free enterprise and government),which I had not heard of before you described it, heralds a renewal of the human exploration of "deep" space. We have found it, I think so far, beyond our imaginations and that experience bids fair to continue. My guess is my generation may observe a successful Mars expedition from our couches and perhaps even a human voyage to the Jupiter system (though not so close to that radioactive planet). Meanwhile, our Earth bound systems will continue to discover wonders in the orbits of relatively close stars. This was unthinkable in my childhood, during which we did look skyward, believe me.

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  2. Jack, you're right, as you usually are -- the years since 1969-72 have indeed witnessed some real progress in space. If my article were more accurate, it would have talked of the declining budgets and public interest, but the continued strides and discovery. Be that as it may, we can do better! I'll bet you that the Russian media concentrates far more on space exploits than ours does, and there's a simple reason for that: the Russian media is trying to build Russia up, while our media is trying to tear American down...

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  3. Dr. Waddy: But didn't you know? Were you deaf to Comrade Obama's pronunciamentos? The prime purpose of NASA is to improve our relations with Islamic countries with proper diffidence and apologia! "And as for the private sector, its days are numbered". That self effacing thinking doesn't work for the Russians, who manifest a ferocious and unalloyed love for their country, as faulted as they know from bitter experience it is, and who recognize that this world is still a jungle.

    It took a kick in the rear from Kennedy (the effect of which was magnified by the manner of his departure)at a time when it appeared that Russian astronauts might round the moon by 1965 ( we in the public knew little enough about their capabilities - we didn't even see pictures of their launchers and their ships - and it seemed plausible. I was following it closely in the news of the time).

    We have a President now who is as gutsy as Kennedy (JFK, as reckless and debauched as he was, did have grit)and he can be an antidote to the relentlessly antiAmerican MSM. Kennedy dealt with defeatism in this regard; Trump is capable of dealing with the near treason we see now.

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  4. I hope you're right, Jack -- but I must confess that sometimes I think that the "lamestream" media dooms this nation to oblivion!

    The space race was such an interesting phenomenon, and I don't blame you for having believed at the time that the Russians might beat us to the Moon. They achieved many firsts in space. My impression is that they might well have made it to the Moon, if only their version of the Saturn V hadn't blown up so regularly... Frankly, we got a little lucky.

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  5. Dr. Waddy: I wonder if the German scientists the Russians captured did them dirt in that regard.

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  6. I would tend to doubt it, Jack. The earlier iterations of Russian rockets were more closely based on German designs, and they seemed to work nicely. To be fair to the Russians, I think we had a lot of trouble getting our Saturn rockets to work smoothly too.

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  7. Dr.Waddy: I am a Russophile, I admit. Their history and geography are compelling and I love their music ,art, architecture ,garb and majestic names. There is no doubt that their early post WWII jet and rocket designs were based on German development. Nonetheless, as I remember, the progress of Saturn boosters from Saturn I to Saturn V, was pretty smooth - not without setbacks but creditable. Believe me, we who had witnessed Vanguard's "poofs" were amazed and encouraged by it. The Russian space effort was heroic but only , I think, if you disregard how much they took for it away from the already spartan Communist economy to enable it. They were using tubes when we were using transistors and the average Russian was enjoying cabbage soup every night.

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  8. Jack, it's true that a world-class space program represented a massive investment for the Soviets, who were much poorer than we were. On the other hand, almost all of the relevant technology had military applications too, so one suspects the Soviets eyed an opportunity for a "twofer"...

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  9. Dr. Waddy: I don't doubt that they viewed it that way (Comrade Leonid materially luxuriated in the perception, as it distracted from his voluptuousness - those who dissented were best to obtain competent "cold weather " gear.)

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  10. Jack, I sometimes wonder whether the Star Wars character Jabba the Hutt was based on Leonid Brezhnev -- the resemblance is striking!

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  11. Dr. Waddy: Frankly, I always thought Jabba's countenance was based on Jackie Gleason (and that may have inspired myriad layers of irony in my generation) but your perception is plausible. Jabba was a model of the unrepentant voluptuary and the not God fearing king gangster. Breshnev (I hope I spelled it right) was similar, with his fleets of the cars ordinary Russians so wished for. He knew communism was a crock of ----. It had been in power long enough to discredit it for all; but he did not care - he was alright Jack. And yes, the physical resemblance is intriguing.

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