Next Giant Leap

We Chose To Go To The Moon.

JFK’s legacy. That speech at Rice University. That catalyst for mankind’s greatest adventure.

Just words.

“The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not.”

Great words. Inspirational words. But just words, until tens of thousands of dedicated men and women set about to make it happen.

That’s when, as a nation, we chose.  And we went. And we went again.

We lost 3 trying to get there. We almost lost 3 more going back. And yet, we kept going.

And we were there.

Happy 50th Anniversary.

This has been an amazing last 6 months building to this moment. The instant in time when all of humanity came together as one.

This wasn’t Neil’s moment. It wasn’t Buzz’s or Mike’s moment. It wasn’t NASA’s moment. To be bluntly honest, it wasn’t even America’s moment.

It was the world’s moment.

“Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

It was influential.

And then we stopped…

Why?

Simple answer: Ignorance.

The government that had funded the lunar program thought they had accomplished their political goals. They didn’t realize or care that the scientific goals had not been met.

The public grew bored and wanted the next big thing. They didn’t realize that this WAS the next big thing, and it was being thrown away.

The world forgot that moment, 50 years ago on July 20, 1969, when we were together. As one people. Holding our breath as Neil took that “One Small Step…”

Instead, the world went back to the petty squabbling and the horrific costs of war.

What’s next?

We’ve done great things in space since then. 

We’ve designed, built, and flown a space station named Skylab. We’ve watched it return to Earth in a fireball when we couldn’t find the motivation or sense of adventure to keep going to it.

We’ve designed, built, and flown a Space Shuttle. We’ve retired a Space Shuttle Program. We lost 14 incredible souls along with Challenger and Columbia.

We’ve designed, built, and are currently flying the International Space Station. Even though 99% of the general public wouldn’t know it, they’re doing great things there.

Our exploration of the planets, with unmanned orbiting and landing probes, has expanded our knowledge of the formation of our own planet and the solar system.

Our exploration of deep space, through orbiting telescopes and laboratories, has so vastly changed our understanding of the universe as to be unrecognizable from just a few years ago.

We’ve developed, funded, and seen private space ventures start to rekindle that excitement in space travel.

But we haven’t kept it going.

Skylab

ISS

Space Shuttle

Hubble Space Telescope

Humans were meant to explore.

It’s in our soul.

Throughout all of history, the greatest advances have been made when we extend beyond our comfort zone. The spinoffs from space exploration are numerous and life-changing.

The current plans to return to the Moon (Project Artemis) are extensions of plans from the past half-century, coupled with new ideas.

We need to get excited about that. FUND IT. And go.

But we can’t stop there.

Mars beckons. And we must go there, too.

Now let’s keep going.
Back to the Moon and on to Mars.

It’s time for that
NEXT GIANT LEAP

Are you with me? Leave a comment below.

Random Ramjet Ramblings

Various thoughts and musings that tumble from my brain onto Ye Olde Interwebbes.
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Santa Claus. Father Christmas. Kris Kringle. St. Nicholas. Papa Noel. Me.

13 Minutes – a podcast review

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“13 Minutes to the Moon” – an excellent BBC podcast focusing on the behind-the-scenes heroes of Apollo 11 and Apollo 13.

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-THE TRENCH-
FLIGHT DYNAMICS OFFICER
MISSION CONTROL
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-THE TRENCH-

The space exploration advocacy website of Roger Balettie, former Flight Dynamics Officer in NASA’s Space Shuttle Mission Control Center.

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FLIGHT DYNAMICS OFFICER

The Flight Dynamics Officer (FDO, pronounced “fido”) is a Flight Controller in the Mission Control Center responsible for the overall trajectory, or flight path, of the Space Shuttle and all related payloads or other space-bound vehicles associated with the Shuttle.

Read about the:

MISSION CONTROL

"Houston… Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Since 1965, the Mission Control Center (MCC) has been the nerve center for America’s manned space program.

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Space- and NASA-based blog entries.

Last 3 blog posts:
13 Minutes – a podcast review

13 Minutes – a podcast review

“13 Minutes to the Moon” – an excellent BBC podcast focusing on the behind-the-scenes heroes of Apollo 11 and Apollo 13.

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Countdown

It’s been 40 years since the launch of STS-1, and the excitement of that day never faded.

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A new adventure on the red planet has begun.