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Tom Wolfe looks back...

...to the Moon landing, which he sees as the beginning of the end for NASA and America's involvement in space. (Dan Collins)

As much as I respect Tom Wolfe, though, I think he's wrong. The philosophers who believed in the space program have always been out there, and they inspired many of the men and women who went to work for NASA, to say nothing of guys like Burt Rutan who want to get us into space without the politicians' meddling. It is pretty sad, though, that when we won the culture wars, we forgot that one of the reasons we won it was because we wanted to find out what was out there. I'm hoping we get some of that back.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
chocol8fiend
Jul. 24th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Loved the Tom Wolfe link.

While Nixon is often called an "arch-conservative" in the media, he was rather liberal on social spending. NASA wasn't social spending, and i think that will always be the problem. Why spend on space when you have a social program or interest group to give money to.

I myself believe we should have been focused on the cost of access to space for the past 25 years (man im getting old). Its 10k a pound to put something in orbit, and as long as it stays that way we really aren't going to be doing much in space. The space shuttle was built on a cheap now pay for it later concept, and we have paid very much for it later. We have had a couple half hearted attempts to make a ssto (single stage to orbit), once the DC-x cone and the space plane. Neither received a series budget. How I would crave to see just 5 billion a year spent on a ssto continually for 12-13 years.
While i hope private industry can do it, i think the problem is they just dont have the 50 billion laying around and the 10-15 years it would take. Though the stuff being built now is technically reaching it into space, I am not sure that it is going to be the long term solution. It takes 60 times as much thrust to reach orbit then the spaceshipone has.

Guess thats my 2 cents

wombat_socho
Jul. 24th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, people tend to gloss over the socialist aspects of the Nixon Administration; everything gets overshadowed by Kissinger and Watergate.

It's a little depressing that the Chinese may beat us back to the Moon.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )