Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Sunday, February 26, 2006

21st Century Spaceship

There has been a lot of whining about NASA’s plans for going back to the moon and later on out to Mars. As far as I’m concerned, all that whining proves only one thing: some people just like to whine, with or without the cheese.

Give me a real break here. If one sets out to be a credible critic, he should at least show up to the debate with the facts. But complaining is a total waste of their time, because the new hardware is just awesome.

One of the chief complaints is that the new spaceship is… “… too much like Apollo – we’re going backwards…” Nonsense. The new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is about as much like Apollo as my dad’s old 1948 Chevy pickup is like a 2006 Lamborghini.

The new CEV spacecraft is larger – carrying four astronauts and is designed using the latest computer technology. I recommend that you take a trip to the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and check this next fact out for yourself. The “computer” in the Lunar Module was a series of “choke” magnets that were wire wrapped in a digital sequence! It’s a serious wonder it ever flew at all! Just one of the new CEV’s has more computing power jammed in its interior than was available on the entire earth in 1969.

Further, for all of its glorious technology, the shuttle’s max altitude was limited to about 350 nautical miles before it ran out of gas. The CEV has a range from low earth orbit to Mars! (About this time the whining should logically start to go away.)

The new science of exploring space will use the proven technology of Apollo mated to the proven technology of Shuttle. We get the best of the best mated in a single vehicle. As far as I’m concerned, any intelligent race would be pretty stupid to start all over again. We’re not and we didn’t.

The whiners need to go find another cause more worth their while. Let me suggest complaining abut something that really matters - like why are we not spending more on space exploration or worse – ocean exploration which is pathetically under-funded? Now there are some great causes worth time and emotional energy!