Charles Keefer's Blog

This we probably don’t need …

with 4 comments

I am at a loss for words for this. Well, almost.

Who the **** let this one go through?

Aren’t stealth bombers good enough?

I guess the thought is that these things don’t need stealth, which will be overcome eventually, because they fall out of space right on top of Moscow or someplace and there is nothing you can do but get bombed.

Jesus H. Christ. Could anything good come out of this – something like Velcro?

I’m sorry, but if we are still spending billions developing shit like this we are incredibly stupid. We need something in airports that will replace being patted down and not give us half a year’s worth of dental radiation.

Something, I might add, that can detect the difference between a binary bomb and face cream.

I am just stunned.

Why are we developing a new bomber?

We need a passport that lets us on a plane without a body search.

I am a 62-year-old natural born citizen of the United States with a 40 year career behind me. Why can’t I get a pass that lets me get on an airplane without being searched? Surely the government has enough info on me to know that the worst thing I have ever been is Methodist.

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Written by Charles Keefer

August 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Posted in Blog

4 Responses

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  1. This actually goes back to World War II with a German design for a “skip bomber” that could attack New York and then skip back out of the atmosphere and orbit back to Germany. We’ve noodled with designs like this for a long time. But once we settled on Apollo, they didn’t make sense. The Space Shuttle was a kind of derivative of this. But with the Shuttle retired it now really depends what you think about having a manned presence in space — essentially flying from Miami to Orlando — maybe Tallahassee — for low-orbit missions, versus sending robots into deep space and sending the new Webb Telescope into a high-earth orbit to peer into the light of the earliest galaxies and planets where we detect the possibility of water. Personally, I vote for robots. As a weapon, the hypersonic glider is pretty stupid. An ICBM can launch at a moment’s notice and hit it’s target within 10 or 15 minutes.

    http://www.thelivingmoon.com/45jack_files/03files/DYNASOAR.html

    Scott Campbell

    August 28, 2011 at 12:28 am

  2. I reluctantly vote for robots too for the simple reason that we are not yet ready for a Mars mission. As long as we have people on earth seriously thinking about skip bombers, we are still too barbaric to enter space.

    We probably could get a Mars mission off the ground if we could just convince Republicans that there is someone on Mars who we can invade. But since life on other planets isn’t written into the Bible, there is little chance of that.

    A manned mission to Mars, a colony on the moon, and trips to the asteroids should be on our calendar. They would be easy if we just redirected the money we now spend on wars.

    But until we can banish wars and hunger and disease and our suicidal tendency to rape the earth because we have invented a monetary system that rewards greed above all else, we probably need to stay where we are.

    Charles Keefer

    September 2, 2011 at 9:38 pm

  3. Never been clear on the whole Mars/Moon/asteroid visiting thing. And I’m a buff. Remember, I used to cover NASA. But what would be the point of spending billions to send a few people to inhospitable climates where there is no life, versus spending billions to changing energy policies and turning this climate around where billions of us actually live. Robots and probes have so far done a perfectly acceptable job of exploring the universe — better than all the Apollo missions put together. Let’s get the Webb telescope funded and launched.

    Scott Campbell

    September 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm

  4. Scott,

    I also covered NASA many long years ago. As far as I am concerned, it is a righteous club to be in. My take isn’t that we could learn more about dead planets if humans were doing the exploring, although we would. It is that we would learn a lot more about ourselves and what it takes for humans to survive in such places. It would advance lots of sciences. It would continue the history of exploration. It might inspire a few school kids. I just don’t think it would be profitable for the species to stop looking out and reaching for things we can’t grasp. It is in our nature to do that. The billions it would cost are just a drop in the bucket. We could easily make that up by doing a few things more efficiently and humanely here on earth.

    I speak from personal experience. I got a decent high school education in bottom tier South Carolina in part because of the space program. Kennedy’s call for a moon shot came with lots of money for education. My high school had a physics lab and I got to play in it courtesy of that effort. I credit the fact that I’m not still working for a weekly in Camden, S.C., covering oversized vegetables and local parades to the space program. My world was broadened to the point that I got to watch a Saturn V moon shot from 3 miles away. I will never forget the pressure waves slapping my chest as that thing roared into the sky. Several billions of dollars going for a visit to a dead moon changed my life for the better and I was just a high school kid 600 miles away in a state so backward that, even today, they would consider someone like Rick Perry as a candidate for President instead of village idiot.

    You don’t get that when you launch a robot.

    Charles Keefer

    September 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm


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