Will we ever see Space again?

09Jul11

The best day of my life was February 8, 2010. It was 4am. I had been up for too long.  I stood outside Kennedy Space Center wrapped in a blanket, shivering in the surprisingly brisk Florida air that year. Didn’t matter. What I was about to see would make it all worth it. 4:15am the countdown started. At 4:16am I saw the most incredible ball of fire ignite the early morning sky with brilliant light, and the rumble of liftoff of Space Shuttle Endeavor STS 130 was awe-inspiring. I cried.

Today at 11:26am I walked into the break room at work, completely aware that I would be tardy for the 11:30 meeting I was leading, to watch the final flight of the US space shuttle. I remember as I watched liftoff, and with solid rocket booster separation I can recall thinking “wow, three minutes to space”. Amazing. And over

Not only is manned space flight over – so is advanced telescopic development and exploration. What you  may not have heard today is the cancellation of the James Webb Space Telescope thanks to the US House Appropriations Bill. That’s right folks, cancelled. Not put on hold. Cancelled. What’s even worse, all the parts for the telescope are complete and being assembled. Phil Plait, in his effort to be fair, did state the project was behind schedule, and sucked up a little too much budget, and was poorly managed… but STILL!

The James Webb was designed so we could see and explore some of the coolest and most important tasks in the field of Astronomy… the collection of warm gasses around stars. What does that do, you ask? Well that is how planets are formed! Also, JWST would have been the largest optical device in space – designed to see so far back in time – 13 billion years to be exact. It’s ability to view red-shifted light (I just learned this term. woot!) from galaxy formations from the adolescence of our universe.

How much did cutting this beautiful project save our country? The cost of air-condition for our troops in Iraq for a WEEK.  We spend twenty billion dollars in air conditioning for Iraqi troops a year. So, that’s $384, 615, 385 per week. Holy shit! That says something right there. We are spending far too much money on fucking air conditioning. The cost of this unnecessary war is outrageous. I digress…

With the cancellation of manned space flight, powerful telescopes, and the continuation of war – the work we’ve done for over thirty years to advance MANKIND (not just American citizens) has now been put on the back burner (I really am trying hard to bite my tongue here and not go off on a political rant on how much I hate our government).

With optimistic hopes of commercial space flight and exploration – I try to keep a positive outlook to the future. But it’s hard when the only way we can get to space has been shut down, and a super cool, high-tech ability for us to understand more about the birth of our universe has been crushed like yesterday’s garbage. All this without a suitable replacement, or even a good blueprint.

So with tears in my eyes, I am glued to the tele tonight, watching the Science channel and its special programming on the shuttle program.Will optimism prevail? I certainly hope so. Because without curiosity – we lose what is essential to being human: advancement.

The History of the Space Shuttle

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4 Responses to “Will we ever see Space again?”

  1. 1 Pannabie

    Do you know how hot it is in Iraq?

    • Hi Pannabie – so so sorry it took me about 12 years to approve your comment (Why do I have to approve it in the first place…settings, settings!)

      I am aware that it is WELL over 100 in Iraq, I know they deserve the AC – I am just irritated this project was pushed aside AS WELL AS the shuttle program being discontinued w/o reasonable plans for US manned fight via a different program.

      • 3 Ken

        I served two tours in Iraq and can tell you its hot, but I would have gladly traded in my AC unit and suck it up if it ment continuing our space program. I believe a lot of other guys and gals over there would have done the same. Maybe if we all turned our attention to the heavens and realize it is our destany to explore, we might not be so inclined to kill each other.

      • Ken, Thank you so much for your service to our county, and your comment!


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