Monday, August 27, 2012

Honoring Neil Armstrong

Barack Obama is shown here honoring Neil Young Armstrong. Why is this about Barack Obama at all? As if he had anything to do with the moon landing. No, he shut down US space exploration. And... and... do you notice anything odd about the crescent moon and star? Why not a full moon? I realize that timing is everything, and they might not have a good publicity shot of Barack Obama when it's needed most, to honor an American hero with whom he had nothing to do.

I, on the other hand, lived this. I was in the seventh grade when Neil Young Armstrong walked on the moon. I shared their white knuckles as they nearly ran out of fuel looking for a place to land that wasn't covered in boulders. I watched with pride as they erected the Stars and Stripes. I held my breath as they threw the switch to lift off again. Would the rocket fire? It had been thoroughly tested, but...

Would the Lunar Excursion Module Ascent Stage tip over on lift off? My father was instrumental in the design and construction of the hardware that fed position information to the on-board guidance system (I hesitate to call it a computer) by metering the rate of deployment of small cables connected to the corners of the Descent Stage (the landing platform that stays on the moon). When they were safely away from the lunar surface, spring-loaded knives were supposed to cut the cables so that they wouldn't yank the Ascent Stage off course.

Everything had to work perfectly, or America would have two dead men sitting on the moon forever. It was unlikely that we would launch another mission to retrieve them if the first one failed.

After all that, Barack Obama gives us a picture of himself to honor Neil Young Armstrong. Big deal.

Note: Neil Young is an illiberal folk-rock singer/composer/guitarist. Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon. NBC reported Neil Armstrong's death at age 82 of heart complications as Neil Young. We can all breathe easier knowing that the illiberal folk-rock singer still lives.

Update: Check out Iowahawk.

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