Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Sunday, August 21, 2005


To Boldly Not Go Where We've Gone Before

The Space Shuttle Discovery returned to Florida today, riding the back of a Boeing jumbo jet in a fashion that looked disturbingly sexual. The return was delayed by bad weather, this after being delayed in the first place when it couldn't land in Florida after this month's mission. Apparently, a stiff breeze would be enough to knock this multi-billion dollar space ship disastrously off course.

This has not been a great month for the space shuttle. The launch was delayed and delayed. When it actually did go up, another chunk of foam, which they'd spent two years figuring how to keep from falling off, fell off. A guy had to walk in space and pull a piece of cheesecloth off of the craft's belly. And the next launch has been delayed until March amid a flurry of agency in-fighting. There's talk of scrapping the shuttle program all together and--with no new space craft ready to take its place--going back to Apollo-style capsules. One small step for man, one enormous fucking leap backward for NASA.

I am, as I've said before, a big fan of the space program. I believe in its importance and I want to see it continue. But come on!

As always, though, I stand ready to help out my fellow scientists at the space agency, by suggesting alternatives to the horrifically flawed shuttle program. They could try:
  • That giant slingshot that Wile E. Coyote always used from the ACME catalogue. Its safety record is almost as good as the shuttle's.
  • Setting a spacecraft on the strong-man tester at a county fair, then having a redneck launch it with a mallet.
  • Lowering a really, really long ladder from the International Space Station, which would eliminate the need for space ships completely.
  • Space Justice Sunday, in which conservative christians around the country pray for God to reach His mighty arm down from the heavens and lift a vehicle into orbit.
  • Renting a ship from Hertz.
  • Shooting an astronaut out of a really, really big cannon. (As our president, I think it would be good if George Bush took the lead on this and volunteered to be first.)
  • Using any one of the 47 spaceships they've got hidden in Area 51.
  • Hiring the effects crew from ILM to build a virtual moon on a sound stage...if they haven't already done it.
However they do it, though, I just think we need to get our space shit together before gas prices get any higher, or we won't be able to send a crew of astronauts to Newark, much less the moon.