NASA, the Moon, and where did our competitiveness go?

When you have a company name like Other World, it’s a pretty good bet that someone had an affinity for things not limited to the Blue Planet, the third planet from the Sun, or simply Terra in Latin. We’ve explained some of our origins as well as noteable dates in space history in various posts…and covered various NASA developments over the past few years like Moon Bombing and plans for a living/working outpost on the moon.

While today marks the 41st anniversary of being the first nation to put a human on the moon’s surface, celebrations at NASA are likely to be a bit subdued based on the recent news that any government intention to put astronauts back on the moon by 2020 was officially aborted.

That decision, along with the reader comments at the Wired article concerning this historic date, got me thinking about past and present space exploration history.

Face it…when was the last time you made your kids, family, significant other watch a space related event that was truly awe-inspiring and previously thought unattainable? Where either silently or loudly, you said a prayer, “go baby go”, or another other positive intention? An accomplishment that became so iconic to where you remember “where you were/what you were doing?”

OK…I’m diminishing some other space/science notables along the way like the first shuttle launch…and landing. But still, I’m not convinced it was one of those “where were you” moments. I’d wager some of you haven’t even heard of Skylab let alone own the US postage stamp proof sets like I do. Look at the launch schedule…three launches within three months time. The world’s first large scale space station. Now that’s a commitment to success!

The new NASA initiative is to build a new rocket for a unknown mission…as well as to carry the Orion human transport module to the International Space Station. Hardly “the right stuff” in my opinion from first impressions.

What I’m hoping for, if you read between the lines, is that the moon as a destination goal was not enough to justify the expense…and that the ultimate prize lies where James T. Kirk captured some of our imaginations as kids.

I kinda hear that Simon & Garfunkel song, Mrs. Robinson, playing in the background as I write this and instead of asking “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” I’m thinking we need more  Neal and Buzz types to come around so that we again boldly go.


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