On Returning to the Moon

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The New York Times has a seriously cool animated slide show detailing the future of NASA’s manned space flight program, the Ares I and Ares V.  At first I was awed at the idea of seeing massive rockets like those launched on the first moon missions.  Then reports seemed to come out every week about bungled budgets, violently vibrating rocket boosters, and detrimental delays to the program.  I wanted the beautiful, inspiring, and pioneering shuttles to be used instead of mothballed to museums, I want our first true space ship to continue ferrying humans into space.  To me their was always something heartening just knowing that the human race had created a vehicle capable of returning to space and flying back down, the closest thing we have to all those futuristic space ships from science fiction.

After falling away from the idea of these bloated, bureaucratic, and seemingly archaic new space ships, I suddenly fell back into glowing adulation for them.  I think it was particularly focused on the day I first saw this picture:

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I think seeing it physically really brought it home for me: we are going back to the moon. Many special things will occur in space during my lifetime: The ISS will be completed, men will return to the moon, perhaps go to mars, and a company will being sending sending people to space with a government rocket.  Not only does the sheer fact that this thing really is happening, really is going to go farther than we have ever gone, but the Ares V (pictured above) is a real packhorse.  I know that the 188,000 kg payload weight may seem a little hard to comprehend, but when you consider that the Shuttle caries about an 8th of that, then it really hits home just how useful this thing is going to be.  The ISS could be constructed in two launches, with room to spare for a couple of new weather satellites and a replacement for Hubble.  One launch of an Ares V rocket would take care of a years worth of Shuttle launches all by itself.  When you consider who much logistics are going to be involved in a mission to Mars, then the usefulness of that big a payload really makes itself apparent.  I for one can’t wait for the first launch.

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One Response to On Returning to the Moon

  1. Pingback: Night Launch Of STS 119 Mission « Raxdakkar

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