July 3, 2011
The Long Road Back To the Moon
image by Stefano De Rosa, Turin, Italy
When I was an undergraduate working in Gerard Kuiper's Lunar Lab at the University of Arizona he once summoned me to his office. He had a proposal to be submitted to NASA for additional funding for the Lab's lunar research. He asked me to walk it across campus to the University President's office to be signed. I said, But Dr. Kuiper it is raining very heavily outside. He replied, If we want to get to the Moon we must walk through the rain. I did and the rest is history. There were many more serious hurdles to getting to the Moon the first time, and there seem to be even more to returning. But as the hills and the road in xxx image suggest, everything points us to the Moon: it is by far the closest cosmic destination in space, and as a library of solar system history and a repository of fuel for more distant travel (water) and Earthly energy (H3) it is a multi-faceted treasure trove. But we are further away from returning than we were when John Kennedy challenged us to go the first time, because now we don't have any plans to get back. Compared to the planets (represented by tiny Jupiter below the Moon) the Moon is the only cosmic body that we have proven technology to reach. I am disappointed that we - Americans - are unlikely to return in my lifetime; perhaps I'll live to see taikonauts do it.
June 26, 2011, 3.52 a.m. Canon Eos 1000D; 8-16 mm Sigma lens set @ 8mm; Exp: 2.5 sec (the Moon looks overexposed in order to better show Jupiter and the stars); F/5; ISO: 1600.
Yesterday's LPOD: Moons And Stars
Tomorrow's LPOD: Let the Fireworks Fly