Friday, August 12, 2005

Why The Space Program Is So Important

My son and I went to Butterfly World. It is a wonderful place just north of Miami. You walk from one garden to another with butterflies all around. It is a peaceful and beautiful place.

While I was there, I suddenly understood why the space program is so important.

I grew up with the space program. I remember seeing Sputnik streak across the sky. I remember Shepherd's first flight and months later had my picture taken next to his Mercury capsule. I was nine years old at the time. My son later had his picture made next to that same capsule. He was nine years old at the time. Those two photos sit on my desk.

John Glenn was my hero.

I knew -- and still can recite -- the names of all seven Mercury astronauts.

I stood near the Vehicle Assembly Building when Apollo 11 lifted off to send men to the first lunar landing. I was three miles away from the Saturn V -- as close as anyone was allowed to be. The ground shook. I could feel the heat on my face. The noise was so loud I thought I was going to go deaf, and I distinctly remember thinking that at the age of 15 I would never need to hear anything again -- not after hearing that wonderful sound.

When Glenn returned to space a few years ago, my wife and son and I drove up to the Cape to see the launch up close.

I was thrilled that the shuttle returned to space, relieved that the crew returned safely to earth the other day, and saddened that the fleet is grounded.

I love the space program.

So why do we go to space?

We have computers in every home as a spin off from the Apollo program.

We have pens that write upside down.

A recently designed golf ball, which has 500 dimples arranged in a pattern of 60 spherical triangles, employs NASA aerodynamics technology to create a more symmetrical ball surface, sustaining initial velocity longer and producing a more stable ball flight for better accuracy and distance.

What marvels indeed. And all thanks to the space program.

But the real reason for our space program is beauty.

Everyone loves the Hubble Space Telescope. Do they understand any of the science? No. Not many of them do. But we all love those photos. Why? Beauty.

Space travel has nothing to do with colonizing space, understanding science, or producing economically marketable products.

It has to do with the search for beauty.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogs = love?
Robert Rogers Gannett News Service Aug. 11, 2005 12:00 AM Scholars either bemoan them or laud them as the future of journalism.
Your blog has something for everyone... keep up the good work!

If you get a chance stop by my place also as I have a linux laptops web site/blog. It's a great resource if you have interests in linux laptops related products.

2:01 PM  
Blogger revbill said...

A great post. As I posted on my blog, I grew up with the space program also. Thanks to adding me to your blogroll!

8:35 PM  
Anonymous RG said...

"I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I believe our greatest calling as Christians is to love. I am opposed to the War in Iraq, and protested the war from the beginning. "

Why do you put your love and protection of dark and evil forces above the love of America's people and 50 million people who are no longer subjected to mandatory Islamic religion?

8:53 PM  
Blogger Maryellen said...

It is monsoon season in New Mexico,
our clear stary nights have been filled with storm clouds and lightning. That's ok, except that I couldn't see the meteor shower.
I remember my grandfather taking me outside to show me a satalite as it sailed by. I remember looking at the moon on July 20th and crying. I don't know why I cried...just the thought of someone being up there. I love Psalm 147:4 He counts the numbers of the stars, He gives names to all of them. and Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Apostle John said...

RG -- As much as I love this country, I have no reason to think that God loves us more than his other children.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous RG said...

Apostle John,

God does not consider those who chose to kill his followers, his children. They have chosen not to follow God, God's children are those who chose God.

Those who chose to seek the heart of God are God's children.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous steph said...

One of the things that inspired me to read this blog was Apostle Paul's profile. Apart from the wit and compassion he reflects, it was his statement about his view on the war in Iraq. It is encouraging to know that there are people living in America who are opposed to the war. (It is ironic perhaps that it is always the more intelligent ones that are)

Anyway didn't Jesus oppose resisting violence with violence? God does not discriminate. We are all his creation and we are all his children.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous steph said...

'cuse me ....

Apostle JOHN!!!! (SORRY!)

5:05 AM  
Blogger littledminor said...

don't we all seek beauty, truth and meaning?
Its vague, I know, however, it sums up a lot of that which we yearn for.

I am a big fan of restlessness too. It gets things done.

12:01 AM  
Blogger skye said...

Yes, God does love us more!

It is not a coincidence that Tang was developed in the US! The single most important development from NASA.

God gifted us with Tang, how could you doubt His love for us?


As much as I love this country, I have no reason to think that God loves us more than his other children.

12:31 PM  
Blogger FRITZ said...

Please, PLEASE go see my site about this topic. It's in the archives. It's called "MY BEEF WITH NASA".

Please, please, please, as a double-major in theology from a Jesuit university, I beg you to start responding on my site. I need some intellect...

7:56 AM  

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