I was born on this day in 1971… and, oh yeah, some guys landed on the moon in 1969.
Yes, it’s true, I’m 38-years-old today, and it is also the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. Don’t worry, I rank the moon landing as SLIGHTLY more important than my birthday being some number of little significance this year.
So while I have a lot of rants about the current state of the United States space program that I could go off about, today just isn’t the day. Today is the day you salute the power of the human will. President Kennedy set a goal for us to accomplish this within the decade (the 1960’s), and we did it.
The sad thing was that after that accomplishment, it began to come clear that we were taking very much a, “Well, what next?” attitude with space exploriation. Sky Lab orbited the planet. The space shuttles were nice, but they left us orbiting the planet. The Interntional Space Station? Guess what… it orbits the planet. I totally understand that interstellar travel is out of the question without some form of mew propulsion system, but we aren’t even done in this solar system yet.
So, now we target leaving Earth’s orbit again, and we look to… go back to the moon. It’s like some outdated rock band decided to get together again for a reunion tour and relive the good old days! Lets take that money and that energy and, not necessairly put a man there, but send more probes to Mars. We’re constantly learning more and more about our closest neighbor, but it still isn’t enough. We need to explore the (supposed) river beds, dig deeper into the soil for possible fossils, try to see just how deep the ice goes at the poles and a whole lot more.
I think it was the fact that my birthday fell on the 2nd anniversary of the moon walk that helped to contrinute to my love affair with space, but it makes me far from being an expert. I just don’t see any particular need to return to the Moon, lets spend that money on doing something totally new instead.
Oh well, what do I know? I’m a 37-year-old 38-year-old kook.