Today we encountered an article worth sharing and mentioning to as many people as possible. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin appears on the MIT Review asking the big questions. In the cover page (as seen bellow) he states, “You Promised Me Mars Colonies. Instead, I Got Facebook”.
Not to say that we have anything against the multi-million dollar, social changing networking site, instead the review makes us wonder if we are falling short as a species to undertake the major problems facing our world. We have deviated our focus of promoting technological fields which have always pushed our imaginations and limits (aka: walking on the moon), education, health, along with so much more.
In the article, Jason Pontin (+http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Pontin) writes, “On July 21, 1969, Buzz Aldrin climbed gingerly out of Eagle, Apollo 11’s lunar module, and joined Neil Armstrong on the Sea of Tranquility. Looking up, he said, “Beautiful, beautiful, magnificent desolation.” They were alone; but their presence on the moon’s silent, gray surface was the culmination of a convulsive collective effort.
Eight years before, President John F. Kennedy had asked the United States Congress to “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” His challenge disturbed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s original plan for a stepped, multi-generational strategy: Wernher von Braun, NASA’s chief of rocketry, had thought the agency would first send men into Earth’s orbit, then build a space station, then fly to the moon, then build a lunar colony. A century hence, perhaps, humans would travel to Mars.
This required the greatest peacetime mobilization in the nation’s history. Although NASA was and remains a civilian agency, the Apollo program was possible only because it was a lavishly funded, semi-militarized project: all the astronauts (with one exception) had been Air Force pilots and naval aviators; many of the agency’s middle-aged administrators had served in the Second World War in some capacity; and the director of the program itself, Samuel Philips, was an Air Force general officer, drafted into service because of his effective management of the Minuteman missile program. In all, NASA spent $24 billion, or about $180 billion in today’s dollars, on Apollo; at its peak in the mid-1960s, the agency enjoyed more than 4 percent of the federal budget. The program employed around 400,000 people and demanded the collaboration of about 20,000 companies, universities, and government agencies.
Kennedy’s words, spoken at Rice University in 1962:
“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? . . . Why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? . . . We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills . . .”
I remember sitting in my family’s living room in Berkeley, California, watching the liftoff of Apollo 17. I was five; my mother admonished me not to stare at the fiery exhaust of the Saturn 5 rocket. I vaguely knew that this was the last of the moon missions—but I was absolutely certain that there would be Mars colonies in my lifetime. What happened? “
We encourage you to read this article on the following link http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/429690/why-we-cant-solve-big-problems/