Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Going to The Moon and Beyond

"The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the Human Race to keep all it's eggs in", Robert Heinlein.

Woo Hoo, stopped snowing, but along with the no snow comes the -30c weather, sucks. In between the snow and clouds I got some clear skies. I was able to get some images the other day of a pretty crescent Moon and added a cool oil painting effect.


In my observing down times I have been watching "From The Earth to The Moon" on HBO, an interesting show about our adventure to the Moon. Also been watching for the like gazillionth time "In The Shadow Of the Moon", and... and I've been reading, "The Last Man On the Moon" an excellent book about the Apollo missions from the standpoint of an actual astronaut Gene Cernan. You may have noticed an underlining theme to all the above, I love the Moon, but most importantly, the fact we made it there, hopefully to return one day.


Well maybe not so much. I've also been reading a paper that was just released out of Rice University.

Rice University and NASA go back a long way. Rice University back in 1962 donated a lot of land for NASA's Manned Spacecraft center, later named the Johnson Space Center. The donation prompted Kennedy to make a famous speech from Rice Stadium where he states;

"We chose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard".

The report is directed to the new Obama administration and details the direction NASA should be heading, basically it states NASA should focus more on Earth centric projects like energy and the environment and put a hold on going to the Moon and Mars. They do have some good recommendations in the 15 page report, that is except for one, not going to the Moon and Mars, if it were up to me we'd be on Mars 30 years ago. We are in a galactic shooting gallery, we need to start thinking off planet for our survival, because it is a matter of "when" not "if" we get hit by a mass extinction asteroid/comet.

I know you're probably thinking like everyone else I talk to is, it's just not the right time to be spending money on such costly ventures with the economy the way it is, seriously I feel like I'm part of a bad Sci-Fi B movie, you know the type, you have a crazy scientist yelling the sky is falling, the sky is falling, we're all going to die unless something is done, and everybody writes him off as a crack pot, till near the end of the show when everybody sees he was right, implements his master plan and avoids destruction, and they all live happily ever after, and everyone's not dead. I'm kind of the star in my own movie, trying to warn people of the possible catastrophic impact event to come, and everybody has written me off, but you know it's not a matter of if I'm right, it's all a matter of when I'll be right.

For now it looks like we are going to have to depend on China and India, both have stated their intentions on getting a Man on the Moon by 2020. but you know,

"Any one Nation can get to the Moon, it will take the human and financial resources of many to go beyond, where we need to be, to ensure the survival of our species"........... me.

See now that I am a star in my own make believe crazy B movie I'll have to start to italicise more of my musings.

One last thing, look to the West tomorrow night, Friday the 27, just after Sunset to see a pretty gathering of the Crescent Moon and Venus, should make for a great pic.



35 comments:

Stephanie said...

I LOVE the crescent moon. I'll actually be painting a picture of the moon on my freshly painted wall within a few weeks. I doubt it will compare to your pics, but I'll do my best.

You KNOW I'm on your side on this, don't you? Earth science and unmanned space are both excellent endeavors but we shouldn't be choosing between such valuable programs. Moving toward technological excellence ALWAYS is for our economic good.

Shinade said...

I too love the crescent moon. And so does my physical being. I have very low energy just before this and also the full moon.

But, let the time get closer and closer and my energy zooms!! I have always had intense mood swings that follow the pattern of the moon.

I too think we should be spending much more on space exploration. It saddens me so to know that once, long ago, in a sliver of a time frame, we, America were the leaders in this field.

Now we are lacking so much that it hurts me to even think about it. But, I am an idealist and ever optimistic. I do believe, I do believe!

So I will not give up hope because I too want my genes, the fruit of my ego, my children, grandchildren, and so forth to continue on.

Yet another awe inspiring post Bob.
Jackie:-)

Peter said...

Hi Bob! You sound a bit down but I can't blame you. Yes, the cold weather sucks but so do the lay offs, the forced closures and our Governments bailing out those that should have known better.

We had one politician here the other day saying on TV, that no ones job is safe! He's in for another four years so he should be right, right?

I think once China and India set up camp on the moon, it will be another cold war again..hope not!

If only they could replace petrol driven cars with something green, then the world would be better off and far safer no doubt.

Look after yourself and keep warm! - Peter

Mike said...

Very nice photo images. Viewing of the moon tonight might be difficult due to weather. I am all for space exploration and the advancement of our programs in space. I would love to see missions to the moon (more jobs too, spacecraft have to be built.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Stephanie,and good luck with your Moon painting, that is such a cool idea.

Yes I know you'd be with me on this one, good point about not choosing between the two, we shouldn't be, there will be technical discoveries, spinoffs because of going off planet that will benefit Earth Sciences as well, win win.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Shinade, very interesting about the Moon Phases and how they effect on your being, the Moon affects me too, good to see I am not the only one, I get down right ugly when I haven't seen it due to weather for a long time.lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Peter, yes the economy is in a bad state, like I said before we up here are feeling it too, sales are down everywhere.

There is always a cold war of some type going on,lets hope it doesn't get to the scale it was in the 60's. \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Mike, too bad about the weather there, we actually have clear skies right now, maybe even tonight for the conjunction.\m/\m/

Daisy said...

I love the moon, too. If you really think about it, it's such an awesome accomplishment that man actually walked on the moon. I like to think about that.

Ivanhoe said...

I believe you about the need of moving somewhere else one day. It just is not on anybody's mind... Until the danger will be eminent... I hope you will be the hero when the time comes and have the perfect solution :o)

lisa winter said...

great pics, i can't wait to see what you'll get after tonight and the venus moon get together. i really enjoy reading your blog. thanks.

Bob Johnson said...

It's humankind's greatest accomplishment Daisy, maybe one day we'll see a cat on the Moon.\m/\m/

chanpheng said...

Nice moon pictures. Buddhist holidays are based on the lunar calender, with the main days to visit the temples falling on the phase of the moon and the major holidays and events in the life of the Buddha falling on the full moon days.

I think the space program would provide more longer term economic stimulus - jobs, research, development of research spinoffs, etc. It's not a sideline but at peaceful means towards a goal that would benefit all of humanity.

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Ivanhoe, you are right no one is really thinking about the possibility, lets hope we are off planet at least some of us when it happens, may not be in our lifetime for 100's or 1,000's of years but it will happen.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Lisa, so far so good for the weather, I hope I'll be able to snap some cool horizon hugging images tonight.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hi chanpheng, interesting about the Buddhist holidays being based on the Lunar phases. So true, I think The powers that be should focus more on long term gain then the short term loss, very good points.\m/\m/

Swubird said...

Bob:

I am one guy who thinks that going to the moon and Mars is exactly what we should be spending our money on. In my opinion, those two projects would actually stimulate the economy by putting people to work, and providing spin off technology. Who knows how many billions of dollars would be generated. It's a much better idea than creating a welfare state, that's for sure. More entitlements will only drive us further in debt without the benefit of future income. Socialism will only squelch scientific exploration and throw us back into the dark ages.

I get frustrated when I talk about this new administration, so I'll leave it at what I have already said.

Meanwhile, happy stargazing.

Stephanie said...

The crescent moon and Venus were out beautifully tonight down here in Houston. When I saw them, I thought of you, Bob.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, you're thinking like me swubird, I hear ya.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Stephanie, I just got back from my 4 hour adventure taking pics, got some pretty good ones, glad you got to see them conjuncting.

One of my stops was downtown everybody was stopping to see what I was doing, it was amazing how many , actually all of them had no idea what was going on and what the name of the star (Venus) as they called it was.\m/\m/

Shinade said...

Oh yay I am here visiting you today. Thank you so much for having me over!!:-)))

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, hey no problem Shinade, pull up a chair.\m/\m/

aks said...

As usual..great stuff on your blog. Keep up the great work :)

Linda said...

you take such great pics! I just love 'em!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot aks, and have a great weekend.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Linda, glad you like the pics.\m/\m/

Genie said...

Your three most recent blog entries are all so beautiful. That sunset, wow! And the moonsets! All those photos took my breath away. Who knew that even Venus would turn a bit red (from our perspective) as it set? I never thunk it.

I agree with your sentiments entirely. In the scheme of things, Earth is just a teeny, tiny, fragile, little ecosystem. ANYTHING could happen. We must find a way to survive 'out there.' And soon! The honeybees are disappearing, who knows what's hurtling towards us from space, and we're damaging our ecosystem in frightening ways. Humans aren't like cockroaches, we're fragile and not nearly as adaptable. Like the dinosaurs, we could be wiped out in moments.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Genie, everything takes on a redish tinge because of the atmosphere, which has more dust particles lower to the ground, blocking the blues and allowing the reds through to our eyeballs. I agree we are too fragile, good thing the Obama administration just announced we are still going to go to the Moon by 2020, excellent news.\m/\m/

Marvin the Martian said...

LOL, I always laugh when people say "why are we spending money on the space program when people are going hungry?" Yes, we can feed the hungry, but there will ALWAYS be hungry people, and feeding them when they can't feed themselves just encourages them to breed more hungry people who can't feed themselves. And it doesn't make the human race any better. Just poorer.

Space travel DOES make the human race better. It means humans may someday become better than they are today. And someday when this planet becomes uninhabitable, humans will have the power to leave. Or to re-terraform it. Skills which won't be developed by merely feeding the hungry.

Bob Johnson said...

Marvin, very true statements, all of them.

There will always be poor, there will always be war, what we have to do is better use the resources we have, by taking care of the the poor but also we must still spend money on getting off this rock, oh and spend less on killing each other and looking for non existent WMD's, we'd be on Mars almost by now if we would have allocated the same resources we spent on the Iraq War towards space exploration.\m/\m/

Livingsword said...

Hi Bob!

The Heinlein quote immediately reminded me of one of the books I can remember first reading and which was written by him: Have Space Suit—Will Travel

LOL Well it is still snowing on your blog Bob and there is now such a big pile of it my Start bar can barely be seen!

That is a pretty crescent Moon!

We own "From The Earth to The Moon” on DVD and it is simply outstanding I highly recommend it. The creative manner in which the program is presented every episode is eloquent testimony to the triumph of that age and people…We shall see if wee have it today…and beyond…

LOL I love it Bob "We are in a galactic shooting gallery, we need to start thinking off planet for our survival…” Survivor Mars…bring it on! Would this be a fans vs. favourites season?

Well we certainly do know that inevitably the Earth and indeed entire cosmos will be uncreated then recreated anew…

China, India and the US are all in terrible trouble economically…it is scary to think that right now Canada has one of the healthiest economies in the world perhaps in the top 2-3…US debt and deficit is now potentially long term crippling the US economy, the “stimulus package” may be the nails in the coffin of the life style to which Americans have become accustomed… the only hope they have is that they are creative enough to invent a new game changing technology such as the internet or on the energy front…get the thinking caps on…could the answer be found in space?

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Livingsword. I was looking at the debt graphs of the US and Canada, we are doing very good up here compared to the states.

I watched Obama's address to Congress to see if any space spending was in the cards and he didn't mention it at all, that's why I was surprised when his admin allowed the Bush space vision plan to go ahead.

I too agree with you that spending money on the space program my help them with new technology, new ways of doing and looking at things.

Cool you have From the Earth To The Moon, excellent series, love it, and the soundtrack is great too.\m/\m/

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