What a Difference 42 Years Make

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

11 thoughts on “What a Difference 42 Years Make

  1. Perhaps NASA has retreated but there is still hope that SpaceX and other commercial space companies will have something quickly up there. Dragon Capsule from SpaceX flew flawlessly and the only major development remaining is the abort system.

    The main stumbling block is the funding for the Senate Launch System (earlier known as the Ares V) sucking funds from other areas of NASA including purchasing commercial spacecraft.

  2. America has long since abandoned "vision". Your last visionary president was Kennedy.

    Instead, you have jackals in the Senate and House, fighting over who can cut taxes the deepest.

    What, I wonder, pays for things like NASA, other than taxes? NASA has not retreated. It's the American people who have abandoned the future.

    Is a private company going to send a manned mission to Mars?

  3. 50% of Americans pay 0 taxes. The 50% that is left pay higher and higher percentages the more they make(and gets steep fast!). How about lets SPEND less? How about lets live within our means as a country? Other countries can take care of themselves or our brothers across the sea can shoulder more of the Borden and lets have a government FOR the people instead of ON the people? Speaking of the people,maybe the 50% that pay nothing in Taxes can pay just as much as the rest of us? If those taxes are too much they can struggle and worry and earn like the rest of us.

    As far as the space race goes. It isn't much of a race. I do think we need to stay in the game but the game is a LONG term contest. While no manned space flights isn't a good thing,long term its just a bump in the road. It's bad planning and a lack of vision,something every government in the world is guilty of.

  4. Watching that lunar landing was one of my earliest (age 3) and most inspiring childhood memories.
    Watching this morning's landing (perhaps better stated as "grounding") fills me with a profound sense of loss, especially as I look at my 3 year old son watching it with me (he's an early riser also).
    I wonder how long it will take to regain any sort of momentum…

  5. Sigh. How true. We are floundering right now. Don't have to go down the tubes, but there are quite a few people who don't care if we do – and they live in our own country. And that's not helping matters. Plus, we haven't really had inspired leadership for several presidents. Like them or hate them, Kennedy, FDR, Reagan, and Truman knew how to lead. We've not seen their ilk since. Who knows, it could turn around. Or we could be going the way of Babylon or the British Empire. But sad in any event. I remember seeing the first shuttle with my Dad. Now he is gone, and so is the shuttle.

  6. That machine was probably the apogee of our space technology. To afford to design,build,and opporate a fleet of shuttles, or even one machine like them, required the economy of the richest, most financially powerful nation in the history of the world.
    Without that economy booming to support such technology and it's attendent costs, we won't see anything like the shuttle fleet again.

  7. The words of Commander Ferguson, on board the Atlantis, really sum up the impact of the Shuttle program, and perhaps serve to highlight what has happened to cause it to come to an end.

    "After serving the world for over thirty years, the space shuttle has found it's place in history…"

    Perhaps more people of this tiny, tiny world we all share, should think about how to come together and serve the world. As a group, rather than standing alone and snatching greedily at short-term fulfillment, we might find ways to allow such universal advances in knowledge and exploration. I hope I will live long enough to at least see the beginnings of such universal endeavors.

  8. Alas, at least from the government's perspective, the space race was mostly about beating the USSR. Landing a man on the moon was established as a goal primarily because it was the first thing the scientists thought they could beat the Russians to.

    In a way, NASA's very success was the first nail in their coffin. Once they'd done what they set out to do, government/public interest dropped considerably. Look at Apollo 13: only two moon missions later and the only reason a majority of people could be bothered to care is because of the oxygen tank explosion. Same with the Shuttle program; what people remember the most is the Challenger disaster.

    Unfortunately, with the end of the Cold War and public/governmental interests being what they are, the only reason we'll be going to Mars anytime soon is if we find out that Al Qaeda is building a base there.

    (Edit: Correcting Type-O)

  9. In an example of dismal synchronicity , I just re-read The Next 50 Years on the Moon (by Erik Bergaust, 1974). I read it in 1977 and it was among the science books that shaped my dreams for decades.

    Revisiting it in 2011 I am saddened to see that its forthright optimism and faith in humanity's collective fire — citius, altius, fortius — seems to have been, itself, a dream.

  10. The consequences of cancelling the program to return to the moon are going to be severe, I predict. In another 5-10 years, the Chinese will have a lunar landing. The blow to morale in the US will likely be permanent. Americans will be standing in front of thier TV's watching the Chinese exploring the lunar surface and the reality that we can't even put an astronaut into space, let alone on the moon will sink in, as will the reality that China, not the US has become the great power in the world.

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