Every now and then, we need to lift our heads up and look around. Perhaps it's to get our bearings, maybe we take a breathe before diving back into the daily grind. Last week, I needed a reminder about how things are changing.
The Cassini spacecraft took this shot of Saturn's rings not too long ago. (The BBC article is dated the 16th.) That little bump in Saturn's A ring is 20% brighter than the ring itself. Scientists believe it is in fact a new moon. Nicknamed Peggy and if confirmed, it will become the 63rd moon to orbit the ringed giant. Peggy is roughly 1207 km (750 miles) by 9.7 km (6 miles) wide. This is why I'm such a big advocate for the space exploration. We caught a moon being formed on film... by accident!
Now the question remains: will it gain mass enough to escape the rings, or will it be pummeled by the icy ring itself? Of course, if it gets free of the ring, Peggy has to watch out for her 62 bigger siblings. Simply put, we don't know what is going to happen, but aren't we lucky we had a robot there to capture it by chance?
By the way, the current NASA budget kills the Mars explorer Opportunity and Lunar Reconnaissance missions. Just as Mtv doesn't play music anymore, NASA doesn't do space. The bean counters are killing space exploration. We have over a dozen crafts on their way or currently orbiting planets and moons. From Mercury to Pluto... and yes, this costs money. NASA's budget is 1.295 billion dollars and shrinking.
There is money and technology to be made out there. This is the new frontier. Putting a processing plant on the moon would certainly help our manufacturing base. A solar station at Liberation point 5 would give the earth cheap abundant energy. A colony on Mars would ease overcrowding here on Earth and ensure our survival as a race. We could be harvesting asteroids out by Jupiter and have an abundance of riches. We simply have to get there.
I just Googled a study done by the Midwest research institute of Kansas City, Missouri. The study concluded that the 25 billion in 1958 dollars returned 52 billion through 1971... and it is still growing. By the time 1987 rolled around, the payoff stood at 181 billion. That's a discounted rate of return of 33%.
21.6 billion in sales and benefits
352,000 skilled jobs created or saved
355 million in federal corporate income tax.
And this was only between 1976 and 1984.
I posted this picture a few weeks back. Do you still think NASA doesn't effect everyone? We could be out among the stars right now. I would like you to call or write your Representative and demand an increase to NASA's budget. Want the link?
Make the call. Want a better life? Write to congress. Want to see unemployment go down? You know what to do.
We work best when there is something to do, a goal in reach, and it's right at your fingertips.