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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo noticed the ballyhoo this week over the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

The fact of the matter is that I was only four years old at the time of the first Moon landing, so have no clear recollection of it.  Thus, this is read-about-it history to me instead of lived-it history.

I do have vague recollections of being awakened at odd times of night to see various events associated with some of the later missions.  The last two I remember following quite closely.

And the other thing I remember very clearly after Apollo 17 and the end of the program was thinking, “Oh, well.  We’ll be going back again soon, I’m sure.  Then Mars.  Then who knows?”  Even at the tender age of seven, I had some historickal sense of the Spirit of Exploration, so I figured we’d simply carry on forward with what to me was, and still is, a completely logical progression.

Fifty years after Apollo 11, I’m still tapping my foot, glancing at my watch, and waiting….

Thus, all this celebration really kind of rubs me the wrong way, as it seems rather hollow.  Just what the heck have we done since then?  Fooled about in Low Earth Orbit with a flying dump truck?  Built a couple LEO “stations”?  Lobbed some unmanned probes here and there?

I’m not saying these programs haven’t had their benefits or been technologically marvelous in their own ways.  And I’m not even complaining here about NASA nowadays frittering itself away on things like Muslim-outreach and the Globull Enwarmening scam.  I’m just saying I’m disappointed we don’t have colonies on the Moon and Mars, asteroid mining, and a high-orbit space port for deeper space missions.  Because until we do have such follow-on achievements, the Apollo Program is really something of a blind alley, isn’t it.

To this end, I really think governments should take a page out of history and allow and encourage more private space exploration.  It is, as Captain Kirk would say, the Final Frontier, after all.  And it isn’t going to be conquered by gubmint bureaucrats, but instead by adventurers, people in it hoping to make a huge profit or else just doing it because they get a kick out of it.  (Absurdly enough, the movie Star Trek: First Contact nails this idea nicely:  Zephram Cochran’s self-interested quest to develop warp drive is the wave of the future, IMHO.  Ol’ Robbo likes to think whoever wrote that story-line had Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” floating around in the back of their mind, even if I really rather doubt it.)

Ah, well.

Maybe, just maybe, the current song and dance might kindle in others that same expectation I had back when I was a boy and still do.  And on the privateering front, I continue to be impressed by the advances being made by Space-X.  Moar, please!

 

**Could not resist the apropos quote, although the fact of the matter is I’ve never been a Jackie Gleeson fan.  I appreciate his talent, but his brand of humor was too broad for me.  It’s just a matter of taste.

UPDATE:  Speaking of NASA and humor, an oldie that has always made Robbo laugh:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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