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Fly me to the moon... or not

posted May 25, 2011, 9:27 AM by Heather S   [ updated May 25, 2011, 12:15 PM ]

“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

- John F. Kennedy, May 25, 1961


50 years ago today, John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to put a man on the Moon in less than 10 years.  And WE DID.

Do you think we could ever accomplish something like this again?

I don’t.  

So if you weren’t aware of this fact (and it’s likely that you were not, which is probably space program failure reason number one), in 2004, President Bush decided it’d be a really cool idea to start a new manned Moon mission program.  This became known as the Constellation Program.  (Which is a really stupid name if you think about it.  The layman’s definition of a constellation is a grouping of stars.  And the Moon is neither a star nor a constellation, but whatever.) 
 
The goal of the Constellation program was to complete a post-space shuttle program by 2015 that would take peeps to the International Space Station and then to get them on the Moon by 2020.

OK now first of all, 2020 minus 2004 = 16 years.  What the fuck, people?   We did this shiz in half that time before and with motherfucking slide rules.  SLIDE RULES!  Do you even know what a slide rule is?  Have you ever even held one in your hand?  Look at the picture below. 

See the thing sitting on top of the calculator?  That piece of plastic with numbers and shit written on it?  That’s a slide rule.   You move that little plastic sleeve around to figure out complex calculations like logarithms and trigonometric functions.  Do you even know what logarithms are ?  (If you don’t then you’re just proving my point that we as a nation are getting dumber every single day.)

They didn’t even have a sweet ass HP-28S (shout out to all the mega nerds who get this reference!  and for those of you who don’t, you can google that shit yourself),  which actually was probably more powerful than the Apollo computer systems....uh, for those of you who don't know (and please please please let there not be anyone out there who doesn't know this) the Apollo missions were the first missions to the moon back in the 60's and 70's. 

The Apollo guidance computer had 2K of memory.   You don’t even know what a “K” of memory is, do you?   You know what an “M” of memory is... and a “G”, but what is this “K” that I speak of???  Well, just to give a general frame of reference to you non-techy people, an iPhone 4 has roughly 260,000 times more memory than the Apollo guidance computer.   Think about this.  The thing you use to text all your moronic friends with and surf intrawebz pr0n with is more than a quarter of a million times more powerful memory-wise than the thing that guided a goddamned bucket of metal filled with 3 guys to the fucking MOON.

Seriously, if you considered the technological power we have today v 50 years ago, we should be able to get someone on the Moon by next Friday if we all put our heads together and started working on it today, right?

But the problem is that we would never do that.  We as a country aren’t capable of focusing on a common goal anymore.   And going to the Moon is a stupid goal anyway, right?  Whether you’re nodding your head in agreement right now or screaming angrily at your screen about the merits of a new lunar program, you’re proving my point as we speak.   We as a nation can’t agree on anything.  Our government can’t agree on anything.  If aliens (who clearly had a better-backed and more committed space program than we do) landed on the Earth tomorrow and told us that they’d destroy us unless we came to a consensus on one thing (ONE THING), even if we got to choose what that one thing was, we’d be completely fucked.  I don’t think we could even agree on whether or not we wanted the aliens to destroy us.   I’m sure there's some group of whackjobs out there that would be all in favor of complete world destruction.  Granted, some of those whackjobs would also believe that they were special enough to be miraculously spared, but that’s a whole other story. 

If you’re still disagreeing with me, consider this statement:

“But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the Moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.”

If Obama were to make this statement in a speech today,  don’t you think he’d get laughed off the stage (well he'd also probably be criticized for using the word "man" rather than "person" but that's a completely different topic)?  We aren’t fucking Musketeers.  What is this one for all and all for one bullshit?  All I know is if it doesn’t benefit me directly, I’m not gonna support it.  And more importantly, if it means that my hard earned tax dollars are paying for it, then I’m gonna rally against it… I mean if I was motivated enough to rally against anything I would rally against it. Maybe. Well, how ‘bout if I sit on my couch and quietly rally against it in my head while I eat Doritos® and watch Dancing with the Stars?

Anyway, we don’t have to worry about such things.  NASA couldn’t nail down a budget that was at all palatable for the powers that be and then Pres. Obama gave it the old “fuck it all” and cancelled the program in 2010 with the caveat that we should focus our efforts on manned missions to Mars.

Yeah.  If we can’t agree on a budget for getting to the Moon, it makes perfect sense to shoot for Mars.

I see this program succeeding in oh…three days past fucking NEVER.


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