Tuesday, July 26, 2005



Having found it vaguely interesting but never essential before now, this morning the NASA channel really proved its worth, as Allison, Georgia, and I were able to watch the full, uninterrupted launch of the Discovery, complete with the chatter between ground control and the Discovery crew. Georgia, aged eighteen months, wasn't terribly impressed, and Allison and I had mixed feelings about it. We're foursquare behind the notion of returning to space, and were overjoyed that the launch went off without a hitch. But at the same time, when we were given little glimpses of the stations in ground control, Allison summed up our reactions nicely when she said, "It all looks so old." And, of course, it is. The vast majority of it as old as she is, at least. State of the art thirty years ago, no question about it, but starting to show its age. It was telling that the NASA commentator spent more time describing and discussing the "ground-based optical systems" (read: "cameras") than any other bit of technology involved in the launch.

I really want us, as in "humanity," to get to Mars, and I'd love nothing more than to have a permanently manned lunar base. But I can't help but think that if NASA didn't toss in every conceivable project and the kitchen sink every time they budget out a manned mission to Mars, that we'd be getting there a whole lot sooner. Something like Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct, for example. It's frustrating to think that, had we started something like the Mars Direct program when I first read Zubrin's The Case For Mars, we'd be there now

In somewhat related news, thanks to a link on John Scalzi's blog, I just discovered that this is what Saturn sounds like. Very, very cool.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by 

Blogger. Isn't yours?