04 January 2009

Project Apollo

Jake wore out my VHS tapes of HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon. He got DVD versions for Christmas.

Reading JFK’s speech—included on the bonus disc—and watching the episodes again, it really is hard to believe that it happened at all.

As much as I’ve always loved the idea of human space travel, I have to admit that I find it very hard to justify. The risk:reward really favors robotic probes beyond Earth orbit. We’ve done LEO long enough that I think the risk:reward really doesn’t justify continually sending humans there either. Even if it did, I still think the SSC would’ve been a better investment in science than the ISS.

(I’m really only talking about NASA here. I’m very glad to see the development of commercial human space flight.)

I’m beginning to think that winding things down once the political goal was made wasn’t really such a tragedy.

Still. It’s so hard to believe that the country actually came together enough to even achieve that goal. I can’t imagine it happening today. Even Obama’s call for us to actually see some progress in alternative energy technologies after all the decades they’ve been talked about. Imagine if we could actually see Project Apollo-like resolve behind that.


Craig Weeks said...

Imagine if we could actually see Project Apollo-like resolve behind that.

Have you heard me say that, or are we just on the same wavelength here? I don't pretend to know what went into Kennedy's speech that lit such a fire under us, but so far nothing close to that has happened regarding our dangerous dependence on hostile nations for our critical energy needs. I give little to no thought to the environmental aspect here. This is a matter of national security, but as a nation we have so far refused to honestly acknowledge that.

Robert Fisher said...

I don’t think I’d heard you say it before.

When Obama mentioned it during a speech, Andrea and I remarked to each other that it reminded us of Kennedy’s challenge to go to the moon. Only it was just part of a larger speech rather than a speech dedicated to the topic.

Which really got me to wondering—even given that cheap oil kept alternative energy from getting much attention—surely we should’ve made more progress by now than we have.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the risk:reward. I think it's a poor proposition and a waste of taxpayer money. I'm all for commercial and market-driven advancements in space flight and exploration, though.