Walking on the Moon

Aldrin_Apollo_11_(3x5_crop)It’s the 47th anniversary of the first steps by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon. I remember watching Armstrong step onto the Moon while I was lying in my bunk at Ft. Bragg. I was in basic training, and President Nixon had given all federal employees the day off to watch the event. That gave those of us in ROTC Basic a day off which I mostly used to catch up on some sleep. A buddy woke me just in time to see the big event.

Back then, I figured we’d have a permanent base on the Moon and be sending missions to Mars by the second decade of the 21st century, but we’re still stuck in low Earth orbit. Robert Heinlein’s stories such as The Man Who Sold the Moon assumed that space would be developed by private enterprise. It appears that he was correct. I’m betting on SpaceX to get a man to Mars before any agency of any government.

18 thoughts on “Walking on the Moon

  1. I’m doubtful on the private sector angle these days. We’ve seen many ways space can go thanks to AMSAT but those remain paths nobody will walk down in so many respects. If anything, it feels like we have a dream deficit insofar that nobody dreams of the stars anymore but rather what new Android app they can make.

    Until people ponder the stars and dream of those new frontiers to conquer, it almost doesn’t matter which sector tried is hand at space. The order of the day now is anger and vengeance. We’re not generally placed correctly on Maslow’s hierarchy to where space is even cognizable to most people today.

  2. I was working a swing-shift summer job at MacDonald’s. We had the radio on, but by the time I got home, the crew was inside. Not much action on the outside camera, and I missed the ascent stage launch. Apollo 12 was a bust (sun-burned camera, I think), but I got to see a fair amount of coverage of one of the rover-equipped missions. That was good.

  3. Our manned space program is dead. It takes precious funds away from Obama phones, ISIS operatives disguised as refugees and fraudulent medical retirements from the navy.

    • Yeah. I’ve told the story before. The biggest logistical problem was the fact that the HVAC for the studio was still not fully operational. That’s the reason why the first “coverage” was black-and-white. It was a dust control problem. In order to properly isolate the operation, the studio was set up on Mars, and the red dust …

  4. I have always believed Earth is Mankind’s Cradle. We will need to leave the cradle in order to grow. Or we will die here, in an epic failure to launch. All the relatively easy and cheap sensoring of our neighborhood and beyond is great, but we haven’t grown up enough yet to actually leave the cradle. Or maybe it’s just that the will, or the perceived need isn’t strong enough yet.

    Having grown up with the Apollo missions, and the popular science fiction of the time, I was sure we (and maybe me!) would be in space permanently by now. The ISS is a sad shadow of what should be now. Most popular sci-fi now is futuristic dystopian crap. I’m kinda disappointed and sad. I miss the Space Age. The future was bright then.

    • On SF, there’s hope. Look up the Sad Puppies and the SF they are promoting. Tor isn’t the only game in town, with better alternatives in Castalia house and Baen, and especially the independently published titles. For leads, try accordingtohoyt.com and look at her links.


  5. When I was in college, I worked a couple of summers as an intern at Rockwell Int’l/Downey in the Space Shuttle Operations group during the first launches of the space shuttle. Did the kind of scut work that interns do.

    Today, the US launches payloads into orbit using boosters with Russian engines. And we put our own people into the ISS space station by thumbing a ride at Baikonur.

    I cannot put into words how furious this makes me.

    • Lean self-serving private enterprise can outrun bloated self-serving government bureaucracy any day of the week.

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