Friday, January 28, 2011

Tragedies in Spaceflight

At 78 seconds after liftoff, this image shows Challenger's left wing, main engines (still burning residual propellant), and the forward fuselage (crew cabin) (NASA).
(FOX News/ The dangers of human spaceflight will be on many people's minds during the next week as NASA and the nation commemorate three space tragedies. Twenty-five years ago, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart less than two minutes after launch, killing all seven astronauts aboard. On Feb. 1, 2003, the shuttle Columbia and her seven-astronaut crew were lost during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. And on Jan. 27, 1967, a fire during a ground test killed three astronauts preparing for the Apollo I mission.

Fairytales, pseudo-science, conspiracy theories: There are no Nazis, there's no such thing as a "UFO," and to even say the word "aryan" is racist. Sure the government lies a little, sometimes, but they're just doing it to protect us.

Can anything be safe? When are they going to fix the planes, trains, and automobiles and make them completely harmless or at least a lot safer than they are now? More people die in a day on the highways than have ever died trying to get to space.

Like the world's nonexistent food shortage (there's currently more than enough, it's just a matter of allocating it to everyone in need), safety is a matter of ambition. Do we want it? Can we get it for the price we're willing to pay? Can we accept imperfection? We already launch stuff into space without rockets, fanfare, or wasteful consumption. (But that's a secret! And anyway, one would have to believe in Nazis and UFOs band lunar bases.) We already have unlimited sources of free energy. (But that's a secret, too! But one would have to believe in perpetual motion machines, cold fusion, space-time extractions, and physics not in the popular mind.)

So why would FOX News ask the question, Will human space flight ever truly be safe? To get us willing to spend more on space budgets in the name of safety? The Pentagon is siphoning off so much of the budget in secret black projects, plunging us into debt we can never legitimately pay off, that they must have a plan. (But that's secret, too!)

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