Friday, October 09, 2009

Minor Rant

I was listening to the radio this morning, specifically to my favorite morning show, when I heard a couple of the idiots running the show declaim their contempt for NASA's current Moon project.

The LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) was designed to take pictures and measurements of the Moon, then sacrifice itself by a) deliberately plowing an empty booster into a crater on the Lunar South Pole, while b) the actual satellite would follow it in, taking measurements and pictures. The point of the exercise was to cause a massive ejecta plume that could be measured to detect the presence of water ice.

Apart from deriding the US space program, these yahoos objected to the $79 million price tag.

And that made me see a little red.

For starters, I'm a firm believer in pure research for its own sake, and believe that had it not been for the space program I would not have a computer sitting on my desk, among a lot of other things.

Second, I'm an American. I like watching shit get blown up. Remember the Deep Impact probe?

And then there's the price tag. $79 million looks like a lot of money (and it is).

But match that against the $688 Billion price tag in the current defense authorization bill (the one that's causing conservatives to foam at the mouth because it has the Matthew Shepard Act embedded within it).

The cost of maintaining an army in the field in a country that we had no right to invade and occupy in the first place, as well as an army in the field in a country that is fast living up to its nickname "the graveyard of empires," is pretty steep.

What could you do with that amount of moolah?

You could explore the Moon - hell, you could colonize the Moon.

You could cure cancer - hell, you could cure AIDS.

You could educate every child in the USA and feed them as well.

You might even be able to afford Rush Limbaugh's drug bill.

To the radio jocks who apparently think that we should stop our space program, I say that as you giggle about the cost and how stupid NASA is, you shouldn't do it while fiddling with your digital broadcasting equipment and kvetching about what's on your iPod.


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