Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Open Letter to the Family of Neil Armstrong

First of all, allow me to express my deepest condolences at your loss and my apologies for intruding upon your lives at this time of tragedy. Mr. Armstrong was a private man, and it is understandable that he would wish for his memorial service to be a small affair limited to only close friends and family. Certainly, such an intimate service is needed by those who knew him as a husband, father, grandfather, and friend, far more than a public service is needed by those of us who only knew him as a symbol of the combined efforts of the multitudes of people who worked on the Apollo program.

Mr. Armstrong often said that they deserved as much credit for the success of the Apollo landing as he did. I would not presume to debate him on something of which he was an expert on. I would like to ask, however, that you agree to allow there to be a state funeral for Mr. Armstrong after the family has had their private service.

I realize that this is a great deal to ask of you who are grieving at this time. I also know that the thought of standing in front of news cameras and reporters from all over the world must seem like an overwhelming nightmare at this time.

Allow me to offer this suggestion, however, if the family does not attend such an event, this will force the global media, who can't seem to let even a few seconds to go by without having someone talking, to reach out to those people who worked on Apollo whom might not otherwise be noticed by the media.

Without the spectacle of a public service, the media is liable to pay scant attention to Apollo at a time when we should be thinking about the men and women, many of whom are no longer with us, who made Man's voyage to the Moon possible. But by having a state funeral, the media will turn its eyes back towards Apollo, and with the family quietly staying away, those who worked on Apollo, in the control center, the design departments, and the assembly lines, will be given a chance to speak before a global audience, perhaps for the first time. They can describe what it was like to work on the project and what the program meant to them, as well as any memories they might have of Mr. Armstrong. Additionally, instead of having politicians, fellow astronauts, or celebrities speak, you can request that only those people who worked behind the scenes at Apollo, be allowed to speak.

Through this moment, we, as a species, can remember not simply one man, but all those who rode with him, in spirit, to that moment which so captured the world's attention in wonder.

Again, I extend my deepest condolences to you during this time and my apologies for intruding upon you now.


Brian Drake

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another Robot Has Come to Mars

A remarkable achievement, and everyone involved deserves a huge round of applause.  But when are we going to get some humans on Mars?  We're always told when one of these things touches down, that the next step is for humans, but like Achilles in Xeno's Paradox, we never seem to get there.  I, for one, am tired of seeing what looks like a video game instead of an actual space program.

The next window for us to send something to Mars is in two years.  And instead of having a flotilla of probes to pave the way for a manned mission in 2916, we've got nothing.  Thanks Congress, for being a bunch of blind, muckeating idiots with no vision.  Maybe you guys could try thinking about our future sometime?

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Monday, July 23, 2012

RIP Astronaut Sally Ride

Astronaut Sally Ride today joined the ranks of the Fallen. Famous for being the first American woman in space, she passed away from pancreatic cancer. It angers me that she was never able to go beyond Earth orbit. That the opportunities for someone as bright as her essentially stopped at the upper atmosphere of Earth. Imagine if she could have had a "double first," not only as the first American woman in space, but also the first woman on the Moon or Mars. If we had had a space program run by visionaries, instead of being controlled by the muckeaters who think of space as a "hobby" and not realizing that it is the single most important endeavor that humanity has ever undertaken. When will we next set foot on the Moon? Will any of the Apollo astronauts still be alive to see it? Will any of the original shuttle astronauts? I don't know.