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Purely In The Name Of Science

October 28, 2009

When I was a kid, everyone wanted to be an astronaut when they grew up.  We wanted to walk on the moon and take great leaps for mankind and do flips inside a space ship in zero gravity.  Space exploration was still a dream, but it was so close we could taste it, and we all wanted to be a part of something that could change the world.  Then Neil Armstrong did it for real in 1969 and I can remember my entire school stopping for the day so the teachers and the kids could all watch the TV coverage in amazement.  The NASA space program was the Cool Kid that all the other government programs wanted to be friends with.

These days, however, the Cool Kid has aged into the Annoying Relative Who Has Great Ideas About How Things Should Be Done But Never Seems To Have A Real Job.  Oh sure, the space program still exists, but it’s a shadow of its former, glorious self.  And although plenty of scientists still look to the heavens and wonder what exactly they can set fire to and blast into space because it looks really, really sweet, budget cuts have left them with very little to look forward to.

nasa04

The NASA Ares I-X Space Penis

Until now.  As of yesterday, these rocket scientists, these intrepid hangers-on in a form of exploration that is rapidly disappearing, these brilliant innovators who probably spent a good deal of their teen years being shoved into school lockers, have an Important Message for us.  And that message is:

Ours is bigger.

At least that’s how I’m interpreting it, because according to an article on http://www.npr.org, the guys at NASA seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on the fact that the Ares I is officially “the tallest rocket in the whole world.  Bigger even than anything the space shuttle team ever put together.  We bet the space shuttle guys wish their rocket was this big.”

Seems like a classic case of rocket inadequacy to me.  This whole thing started when the White House looked at the Ares I rocket program and mentioned that perhaps it wasn’t “up to the job” of fulfilling America’s exploratory desires, and the Ares team responded, of course we’re up to the job, haven’t we regularly orbited the Earth all these years?  And the White House said, well, maybe, but these days we’d really like to ramp it up a notch, you know?  Why should we be satisfied with just plain old vanilla orbiting when we could be going so much farther, so much deeper into unknown territory?  A country has needs, for Pete’s sake.

Not surprisingly, the Ares team’s response was to take things into their own hands (sorry) and build a rocket that they describe as “a full 327 feet long, totally solid, ready to go at all times and oh, did we mention that it’s twice as long as any stupid space shuttle?”

Unfortunately for the Ares, the pressure got to the team and the rocket blasted off well before the count-down.  Plans for continuation of the program are now back before a review committee.  Which just goes to show you:  size isn’t everything.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2009 7:36 PM

    Sorry for commenting Off-Topic – what WordPress theme are you using? It looks interesting.

    • Deb permalink*
      December 14, 2009 12:27 AM

      Hi Earl, The template I’m currently using is called “Vigilance” by Jestro. Hope this helps.

  2. JBO permalink
    October 29, 2009 10:36 AM

    Joe BowerI can’t wait for it to dock with the Space Station Trojan and fly into deep space and explore the rings of Uran…..

  3. Kevin West permalink
    October 28, 2009 10:25 PM

    For the record, my cousin worked on this project. Also for the record . . . Ha Ha! (no sarcasm intended).

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