Thursday, December 17, 2015

What is happening

Tonight the new Star Wars movie will premiere. We won't see it and I don't want to hear anyone tell me about it. My family will get around to it very soon.
Another thing crossed my desk: NASA is getting more money than they asked for.
You can go ahead and read the transcript but let me try and boil things down to the main points.
We're going to Mars. A goddamn manned mission to Mars. About freaking time. There was a time when I didn't think I would live to see humans step out into the solar system. A recurring theme in my life is, 'If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen.'
Europa is going to happen. Jupiter's moon, Europa, is an ice covered world with an ocean under it's surface. Wherever there is water, life usually follows. Congress stipulated that the Europa mission must have a lander and a way to drill through the ice. Challenge accepted.
In my ever vivid dreams when they lower a camera beneath the ice, one of several things might happen.
A shrimp-like creature will zoom past the lens.
A terrifying tentacle will strike out and rip the camera off the probe.
Or nothing will happen.
I sincerely doubt Europa's ocean is devoid of life.
I also doubt there is some Cthulu-type leviathan down there waiting to kill us. (I hope.)
It's more reasonable to expect small plankton and amoebas. Which would be a miracle in itself, but let's get there first. 
The Orion Spacecraft and the Space Launch System are now in full swing. 
Together with the private sector space agencies,  Space X, Boeing and Virgin, we can finally step out into the solar system.
Remember what I mentioned in an earlier post: whoever goes out into space will control the solar system. Not too long ago I thought the Chinese might beat us to the moon. Their goal is to put a base on the moon in the very near future. Remember: they're very good at five-year plans. Here's what they have planned for the near future.
We've all played Monopoly as kids. Think of it this way: If China sets up a base on the moon, it will control access from Earth to our neighboring planets. China is doing the equivalent of buying the St. Charles and St. James sections of the board. Sure, we can launch our rockets from Earth to the other planets, but it will be so much easier to do it from the Moon or one of the Liberation points.
Visual aid time:
Now I can't get that song out of my head

Liberation, or LaGrangian points (with apologies to ZZ top.) are areas in between two planetary bodies where gravitational forces cancel each other out. Theoretically a space station would have to exert very little energy to remain at, say... the point between the Earth and the moon. Both bodies would exert equal amounts of gravity, in effect balancing the space station between the two masses.
In science-fiction circles, L1 through L5 are considered optimal for a future space based rocket platform. There is also some solid science to back it up.
Now what if the Chinese decide to build a base on that small blue dot in the picture? They would control those points closest to them.
Don't think it could happen? Take a look at your history. Those countries that control the ports, controlled the flow of goods.
If the Chinese get to the moon before us and establish a good settlement, don't be surprised if they decide to rename the moon.
If that sounds far fetched, go ahead and Google 'New Amsterdam'. History is always written by the victors.

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