Thursday, June 10, 2021

Space Program

Space program? What space program? What are we doing today that we did not do fifty years ago?The equipment that we landed on Mars is a little bit more fancy, but the first Mars lander was in 1976, 45 years ago.

52 years ago we landed a man on the Moon, and not only can we not do that today, we do not even aspire to do that today. We have some loose talk about sending a crew to Mars, but we do not even have designs drawn up for a vehicle to do that. Such a mission is not even serious talk at this point.

Are we an advanced nation? Not when we cannot even plan to do what we actually did half a century ago. Biden is the perfect leader for us today. A senile old fossil, dreaming of past glory.


  1. We could land men on the moon again if we were willing to spend hundreds of billions on it, as America did in the 60s/70s. The consensus seems to be, perfectly reasonably in my view, that it isn't worth the cost especially since unmanned missions are so productive and comparatively cheap.

    Landing a probe on a comet (philae, 2016) is not in my opinion something that we were capable of 50 years ago.

  2. We do not have the capability of landing a person on the moon. That we would have to "spend hundreds of billions" on developing that capability is the point that I'm making.

    Landing a probe on a comet (or asteroid) is just math calculations. The engineering is precisely the same as landing one on Mars, which we have been doing for 45 years. We sent a probe (Voyager) out of the solar system 42 years ago.

    What new thing have we done with men in space? We're ten years away form giving tourists rides into orbit for profit. Pffffft.

  3. It's the "just math calculations" which I doubt we'd have been able to do in the 70s. The required computing power, particularly on-board the probe for low-latency course corrections, is too great a challenge for that period in my judgement. But you know, maybe we could have done -- after all if we hadn't actually landed on the moon I would be explaining how we couldn't possibly have done that with 1960s tech.

    Part of the reason so little progress has been made since is that the apollo landings were such a costly, empty political gesture that sucked so much life out of the rest of the space program. It got the space race won, but we didn't get much from it scientifically or technologically. There are other space goals we could have pursued which would have borne much juicier fruit.

  4. Not been able to do in the 70s? You have to be kidding me. You cannot possibly be that ignorant. In 1977 we launched Voyager 1 out of the Solar System using a path which accelerated it around five different planets. And you think our math was insufficiently sophisticated to land on an asteroid? Give me a break

  5. You could do all the sums in the 70s, you just couldn't do them as quickly. You don't need fast maths to plot the course to slingshot around a planet with a well-known stable orbit. You do need fast maths to aim at a fast-moving comet whose orbit you didn't know all that accurately until a few days ago.

  6. I should have stayed with my resolution to just not respond to your invincible ignorance. Galileo was accurately calculating the orbits of comets in the 16th century.

  7. In the 17th century, Galileo was publically arguing that comets might be an optical illusion (The Assayer, 1623). I doubt that 20 years earlier he'd been accurately calculating their orbits.

    You dislike some of my opinions so it pleases you to think me wrong about everything. This attitude reflects poorly on you.