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Sagan Series: The Gift of Apollo



I wasn’t alive for the moon landing. I didn’t experience the rush I might have, knowing that we were on the cusp of becoming a multiplanetary species, but I do know the significant let-down of knowing that we’re STILL not a multiplanetary species, mostly because we’re pouring all our money into military endeavours instead of space exploration. Sagan’s words have given me a sense of what the high must have felt like, which only magnifies the low we’re experiencing now.

See more videos in the Sagan Series. They’re inspiring and poetic and beautiful.

Comments

  1. Art says

    I’m old enough to remember the first landings. Totally amazing at the time. People around the world held their breath knowing the LEM was running out of fuel as they hunted for a place to land. They were seconds away from scrubbing the landing, crashing if they landed on a boulder, getting stranded with too little fuel to get back off the moon.

    I also remember the disappointment as enthusiasm waned, the NASA budget was cut. Entire programs were defunded, delayed, and cancelled. NASA and the astronauts put on a brave face but the bloom was off the rose.

    The space program through the moon landing was special. Some estimates claimed that about a third of all work done on Apollo was done off the clock. I met a machinist that worked on the program who said that for years they would punch out and, off the clock, work out how to build the many devices that had never been designed. He talked about it as a labor of love. The high point of his career.

    One wonders how much easier it might be to go back to the moon. Your average I-pod has more computing power than all computers used in space to get to the moon combined. Those units were large, heavy, and they consumed lots of power.

    Computers and electronics are far better, we have lighter and stronger materials. New manufacturing methods. Funny how they went so far, so fast, using such inferior technology. Now we have the technology largely in the bag, but lack the will.

  2. Stan the lousy American (no gun, no SUV) says

    Dear L.C.:

    Not to sound too Yankocentric, but muy thanks for reminding your readers, especially those of us south of the border, that the United States of America used to accomplish stuff and that Apollo, not Predator, was our proudest aerospace achievement.

    Maybe we’ll get back in the habit someday once the Koch boys and their little helpers stop robbing us while telling us we can’t even afford to fix the cracks in the sidewalk.

    See ya on Mars—

  3. martha says

    I remember being gotten out of bed to watch the moon landing, although I doubt I appreciated it at the time. I also remember being herded into a classroom with a TV to watch Apollo 13 come down and being confused because the teachers and the newsmen kept talking about the danger of fire, when it was clear to me that the capsule was going to fall into the water where drowning was certainly the greater danger.

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