Monday, August 4, 2014

When I was growing up in Florida, I remember seeing rockets flying overhead. First on their way into orbit carrying the Gemini capsule, then on to the Moon with Apollo. I'm to young to remember the Mercury missions in live thought. I do have vivid memories of the Saturn V flying across the Florida sky in all its glory. I remember it looking like the picture provided below. It was awesome in the extreme!

We delighted ourselves watching Star Trek, with our old friends Captain Kirk, and Mr Spock on the television, and dreamed of a day when our civilization would do as they in real life. We thought we were on that path, and embraced science and technology wholeheartedly. Our generation was convinced that we were on a continuing path towards the stars. That was then, and the cold war ended. Along with it ended our nations dedication to that cause.

What we thought was a dedication to science and exploration turned out to be a contest of one-upmanship between the United States and the Soviet Union. As soon as we convinced ourselves we had won that contest by placing humans on our moon, and safely bringing them home, our focus turned from exploration to low Earth orbit, and the placing of communication & GPS satellites around our planet. This was the building of part of the modern electronic infrastructure we enjoy today. We could of had much more.

In 1970 our nation spent 1.92 percent of the Federal budget, or $18 billion on the space program, in 2007 dollars. In 2012 our nation spent 0.48% of the Federal budget, or $16 billion in 2007 dollars. During the 42 years between the dollar amount, in 2007 dollars, has varied little, and the percentage of the federal budget has kept shrinking. By my estimation, if our space program had the same funding, as a percent of the federal budget that was had in 1970, our nation would be spending $64 billion in 2007 dollars.

During that same 40 + years education spending hasn't fared much better, and welfare spending has increased almost 4 fold. 

I hope by now you suspect what I'm getting too. I am saying our nation dropped the ball when we ended the Apollo program. I believe that if our society had kept spending on NASA and/or space technology and development, and education at proper levels, keeping up with inflation we wouldn't have such massive welfare spending now. I believe we would of avoided the recessions we have endured, along with the suffering the accompanying high unemployment levels caused. Furthermore, our nation would have avoided the massive federal debt we find ourselves saddled with.

The reason I believe all that is because if we had of kept up the forward momentum we had then, our nation would have these following things;

A highly educated, and skilled workforce.
 Industry in orbit, on the Moon and on Mars.
 The harvesting of asteroids for metals, and other elements.
 Greater wealth for all due to items 1, 2 and 3 in this list, giving us less welfare spending.
 40+ years of developed civilization on the Moon, and Mars.
 A more stable, and sustainable industrial base.
 A higher level of technology than we have at this point in time.
 Less degradation of our ecosystem.
 Less global conflict.
 An open ended cause that everyone could feel like they were contributing to, and claim ownership of.

I'm not saying our leadership failed us on purpose. They probably didn't know any better. I know Richard Nixon didn't know any better. He was a corrupt, short sighted man, who was focused on the perceived problems of his times. He was lacking in enlightenment, and showed it in his attitude with race, government, and authority.

All that Nixon stuff is food for a whole other article. I mentioned it just to show the type of thinkers who brought us to this. Still, you should get the over all picture of what I'm going on about by now. We could of been much better off. It's almost like we've been going through a modern day Dark Ages. It is like real human advancement was put on hold in favor of other things we thought were more important, but really were not. Our society was to primitive to know any better. Now we do know better.

I've mentioned in the past of how the bank bail-outs, and such was enough to fund several Apollo size projects in other articles, but it is worth mentioning again here. I'm mentioning it because corruption is a part of the problem. Misguided federal policy weighs heavily into it. Infighting between the political parties, and no real direction for our society too! The issues that has caused us to go down the failed path we have chosen are many and complex, but there is hope. It is not to late! Not yet anyway.

I do believe there could be a time in a civilizations advancement when if they do not choose the right path, they could be stuck in the quagmire of stagnation forever. When the infrastructure of civilization becomes to anemic, and fragmented to take on such high goals, that civilization could very well be in danger of it's progress being brought to a halt. I've heard of theories saying an advanced civilization could fail due to global war, but I haven't heard of an idea where civilization is brought to its knees due to short sighted goals, greed and corruption. When I look at the news, I get a feeling our world is going down that dead end path.

I think if we turn it around now, we have a chance to avoid all that failure. It is going to take a lot of work to repair the damage. It is going to take all of us working together, and steadfastly to achieve that goal. What a goal too! We can grab that brass ring, and reap the rewards! All of us can. We don't have to march down that road to oblivion our misguided leaders have started us on.

Are you ready? Write your congressman and congress women. Tell all of your friends that there is hope and of how it can be achieved. Remind them of our human potential, and give our world's people a common goal. We are capable of it. We can have it if we want it. All we have to do is stop the fighting among ourselves, and turn our attention to the great future I know humans can have. Educate our people properly. Invest in the expansion of industry, and civilization beyond our planet.

Let the people 500 years in our future be able to look back on this time as when our society changed course for a better tomorrow. Let them not look back at us and curse us as fools who selfishly wasted it all. It's up to us to make it so.

This is how the new era begins

Industrialization and Colonization of the Moon and Mars Saves Economy

Today I read a story that said most people of the world believe China is moving up to be the new global powerhouse, and the United States is on the decline. I say, big deal. I mean it too. It is a big deal. It is because of greedy people hijacking our future. A future we should of had already, and that can still be had, but maybe at a greater cost.

I know our civilization can muster the resources both material, and human to get back that stolen progress. Not long ago I was looking at the International Space Station. It cost our worlds resources $150 billion. When humans were tasked with the Apollo program, its cost was roughly $170 billion in 2005 dollars. When you add just those two things together we get $320 billion. Money well spent for a lot of important reasons, of which I'll get into later on.

Here's the part that says we all got screwed by greedy people. Remember the "Financial crisis of 2007–08"? Remember how we got out of it? Our nation borrowed heavily, and raised the debt limit. It seems like it was to the tune of $1.1 trillion. That, my fellow Humans was not money well spent.

Instead of spending money in a manner such as the following;

the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008,

This bill authorized $700 billion for the program. The Treasury Secretary had immediate access to the first $250 billion.

T.A.R.P. or the  Troubled Asset Relief Program,

As of June 30, 2012, $467 billion had been allotted, and $416 billion spent, according to a literature review on the TARP.

...our nation should have spent all that money on finally realizing the future we were all promised 50 years ago. Off world civilization. If our nation had only focused in that direction, it would have solved a lot of problems. Problems we are dealing with today, and not very effectively. Here's how I would of spent all that money.

Remember this one thing first. Everything I'm about to propose is technologically possible. Now that we are in the 21st century, we are way better off to do these things than our ancestors were when President Kennedy gave his historic speech.

Okay, we start with the $1.1 trillion from the greed programs mentioned before. You take that seed money and put it into a massive national top priority push for the industrialization of the Moon, Mars and the asteroid belt. Don't tell me it can't be done. I know it can. I know it would be the best thing for our world. It would provide jobs. It would increase our technology. It would decrease poverty. It would provide greater means for experimentation to solve energy and environmental problems. It would stabilize metals prices. Orbital factories could be built to provide the coming century's people with the products they want and need. They'll have the money to buy those products too!

I remember when the C-5B program started up. Lockheed hired a lot of people, and trained them. They invested in people and now we have a fleet of giant transport aircraft like the world has never known. A lot of people were trained, paid, paid taxes and bought goods and services. That goes for the C-17, and for Apollo too! Look at all the stuff our nation got for the $170 billion we spent on the Apollo program.

  • 15 Saturn V rockets, 

  • 16 Command/Service Modules, 

  • 12 Lunar Modules 

  • Program Support 

  • Management Costs; 

  • Construction Expenses for Facilities and their upgrading

  • Costs for Flight Operations. 

There is no arguing the point of if the Apollo Program did our nation any good. Of that there is no doubt! From where my calculator stands for the $1.1 trillion we spent on bailing our a bunch of greedy bankers, we could of bought almost 7 Apollo Program size projects. We could of had 8 International Space Station Size programs for that amount of money. Just imagine the jobs that would create! All that stuff needs skilled hands to build it. Educated hands.

The banks that were bailed out would have reaped the benefits too! All them people working in factories building the space infrastructure of the 21st century would be needing savings accounts and checking accounts. All them newly employed people would of been buying houses, instead of loosing them to predatory lending practices.

When president Kennedy made his historic speech, we didn't have the technology to get to the Moon. Then, before the decade was over as that visionary wished it to be, humans were walking on the moon. At the same time our economy was booming, and a golden era of technological progress commenced like the world has never known! Part of it was because of war, the other was because of the space program. Now we don't have a war, but we do have the technology to put giant space stations in orbit. To build huge rockets to lift heavy loads into orbit. To get back to the Moon, and start industry. To mine asteroids to provide for that new industry. To go claim Mars, and use it. It is all there for us, and we have the means to do this. We only need the national will.

SpaceX is a major player in the commercialization of outer space. BoeingLockheed MartenNorthrop Grumman and others all across our nation have the tools, and the expertise to help pull off something of this magnitude. Companies big, and small would have a stake in it. We all would, and we all would reap the rewards.

You've read stories of World War II. You've seen video of the actual battles. All of that was built by people working long and hard in factories, and getting paid to do it. We had a terrible enemy to face down, and so we have an enemy today, greed and poverty. It will take the same dedication as it did back then. It will be hard too. Sacrifices will have to be made by us all. Tragedy will have to be endured! Still we can do it. I know we can.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was 6 years ago already. Could you imagine what things would be like if our nation had of put all that $1.1 trillion into 7 Apollo size programs, with the training, and people employed, etc. etc.? President John F. Kennedy's speech was May 25, 1961. By Oct. 11, 1968 Apollo 7 was ready with the First manned Earth orbital demonstration.

Our people could do that 7 times over, and all at once, for the price of the bail outs. 

Or we could build all the systems for asteroid and lunar mining, plus a space station in lunar orbit, a mining operation on the moon, along with habitat for the workers, and transportation systems for crew and cargo. We could launch Humans into the next Golden Era!

"The Apollo program had been called the greatest technological achievement in human history. Apollo stimulated many areas of technology. The flight computer design used in both the lunar and command modules was, along with the Minuteman Missile System, the driving force behind early research into integrated circuitsComputer-controlled machining was first used in the fabrication of Apollo structural components."

The benefits for our civilization are numerous. The consequences for failing to do these things are profound. 

It is time Humans do this. Time to industrialize and colonize our solar system. This is an open-ended project, with unlimited returns. It will solve problems both social, and economic.

100 years ago if anyone would have proposed Humans do this, they would be called a dreamer. Today, if people think we can't solve our problems without doing this, it is they who are the dreamers.