Outsourced Space


via Hatbag

We’re Gonna See A Rocket


Rocket
Words and Music by AP
With my deepest thanks to astronaut Patrick G. Forrester

Oh the sight of the mighty machine, the iron shine of a golden dream. On the edge of the ocean, a potential explosion stands so tall and so serene. I’ve got two little boys and a girl in bows. We were first in line just to see the show, to count down the seconds as destiny beckons into the arms of the astral glow.

And we’re gonna see a rocket, we’re gonna see a rocket blast through the last of the atmosphere, up and away to the great wide open, adrift in an airless ocean, in a bliss of mystical motion — I’m stuck down here.

Just look at the ground on the grassy hill. It’ll lift you up but it holds you still, ’cause gravity binds us but glory defines us — it’s the greater pull of a perfect will. And they say the ground is gonna quake and groan. They say the sound’s gonna shake my bones. It’s so full of meaning, alive and careening into the grace of the great unknown.

And we’re gonna see a rocket, we’re gonna see a rocket blast through the last of the atmosphere, up and away to the great wide open, adrift in an airless ocean, in a bliss of mystical motion — I’m stuck down here.

We stood among the multitude, we saw the rocket rise in a fiery hue. It defied destruction to ride the eruption. I have found this much is true: that love alone can carry you up and away to the great wide open, adrift in an endless ocean, in a bliss of mystical motion. I have found this much is true: love alone can carry you.

via Lyric Wiki

Destroying The Ships


We’re destroying the ships.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If the current FY11 NASA budget proposal stands, within a year, every vehicle NASA has, every vehicle NASA is working on, will be grounded. Endeavour, Discovery, Atlantis, Altair, Ares I, Ares V, Orion. All gone.

I’ll admit that the destroying-the-ships analogy was one I came across this week, not one I came up with on my own. But it’s one I’ve seen before, one that you see from time to time tied to various events in spaceflight.

Back in the early 1400s, China was a major naval power, expanding its cultural influence far beyond its borders. But over the course of a century, the empire reduced its navy, and in 1526, the remaining ocean-going ships were destroyed and it was illegal to go to sea in ships with more than one mast. History can only guess what would have happened otherwise, what China’s reach would have become had the navy not been destroyed.

The analogy should be obvious — some aruge that is what we’re doing today with space, with the same limiting consequences.

But there’s another Chinese story about destroying the ships (with later Wester parallels). Xiang Yu was a third century BC Chinese general who took his troops into enemy territory, and then destroyed their cooking pots and burned their ships. Retreat or complancency was no longer an option, only victory or death. Hernando Cortes did the same with crews he brought to the New World, for the same reason.

And there’s an analogy that could be made there, as well. By destroying our ships, we are, as Kennedy might say, tossing our cap over the wall of space in a new an unprecedented way. The old model, the way we’ve been doing spaceflight for the last 50 years, is no longer an option. We either succeed in creating a new space economy that will open the solar system to everyone, or we fail.

The question is still being debated in Washington as to whether we’re ready to destroy our ships. Some argue that the nation is not ready to abandon the current model, that we’re tossing our hat prematurely, setting ourselves up for failure. And it’s a legitimate question to debate.

But depending on the outcome of that question, another question must be asked — why are we destroying our ships? Which analogy do we want to apply? Are we destroying our ships so that we can no longer go forward? Or are we destroying our ships so that we can no longer go back?

It’s a question that not only must our leaders in Washington decide, but one that we as a nation must decide. And it’s potentially the most important question ever asked in the history of human spaceflight.

Whoa


I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin.

I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world … without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries; a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.