Monday, April 8, 2019

Grab my ebook “The Moon Before Mars” for free this week!


If all goes as planned, then on Thursday the Beresheet lander will touchdown in Mare Serenitatis.  This will make SpaceIL only the fourth entity to successfully land something on the moon.  They will follow in the footsteps of the Soviet Union’s Luna 9 in February 1966, the US’s Surveyor 1 in June 1966, and China’s Chang’e 3 in December 2013.  The big difference between this lander and previous ones, is that it is largely privately funded. 

I am a huge supporter of lunar exploration – both publically and privately financed – so I figured the best way to mark this occasion is to have a sale of my ebook “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” where I go into far more depth on why I feel returning to the moon should be our next step in space.

Hopefully, Beresheet is just the beginning of humanity’s return to the moon.  India is hoping to become the fifth entity to land on the moon with its Chandrayaan-2, scheduled to launch in May.  And then Moon Express – another private company – hopes to launch their Lunar Scout by the end of the year.  It is possible more landers will land on the moon this year, then in the past forty years combined. 

So if the idea of lunar exploration excites you, check out my book.  For this week, it will only cost you the price of a click.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Back to the moon! By 2024?


Yesterday, after a long day at work, I came home to headlines of “NASA to return to the moon in five years!” I’m no rocket scientist or space policy expert, but my first reaction was, “In your dreams.” But if I was given the task, I’d do it with two Falcon Heavies and a Falcon 9.  One Heavy would launch the lunar lander, the second would launch what was basically a space tug, and the F9 would launch the crew.  The three would dock in Earth orbit, and the tug would send them off to the moon.  They’d land, come back up, and the tug would bring them back to Earth.  There would likely be a crewed test run, but unlike Apollo 10, the crew would stay in orbit while the lander went down and up automatically.  Just to fully test it before putting crew onboard.

One problem with this, is that while there are dozens of designs for lunar landers and space tugs, will any of them be compatible with each other, with the Falcon Heavy, and ready to go within five years?  With enough money, possibly. 

Things could be simpler if the mission uses the Space Launch System or the Super Duper Falcon, or whatever it will be called in five years.  Yes, but the advantage the Falcon Heavy has is that it’s flown.  The SLS and SDF are still in the design phase.  So how much of the five years will be eaten up just getting them flight ready?

Now I’m sure some of you are saying that since we went to the moon in eight years in the sixties, with our better technology we should be able to get there in five today.  But two of the reasons we were able to do it so quickly in the sixties is that, One, we had to beat the Soviets, and Two, NASA had all the money they needed in order to beat the Soviets.  It was a Race that our government, military, and large swaths of the populace felt it was of vital importance we win.  What reasons do we have to go today?

I am a big supporter for returning to the moon, but I’m no fan of this five year challenge.  The main reason is that I don’t want a repeat of the Apollo “flags and footprints.” Apollo went to the moon, and they did some science, but the main point of going was to have an American standing on the moon waving his dick at the Soviet Union.  Yes, my Falcon plan might have Americans on the moon in five years waving their genitals at … China, but I want more than that.  I want a permanently crewed outpost doing science and figuring out how to live on the moon, so that outpost can grow into a colony.  Such an undertaking needs more thought put into it and can’t just be thrown together to meet some arbitrary political deadline.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A solution to the border issue


In the fall of 2007, I was sick of the 2008 Election.  At the end of December, I had an idea to show how sick I was of it.  At the time, I wrote a Weekly Story for my website.  I’d think of an idea, hammer it out, proofread it once or twice, and post it.  For the week of January 1, 2008, I wrote my first Jonathon Davies story.  Who was Jonathon Davies?  He was a just a bitter guy running a write in campaign for President.  Why was he doing that?  Because all the real candidates sucked.  He was of the opinion that politicians put party above country, and maybe, just maybe, if he showed them someone who put country first, it might shame them into actually doing their jobs. 

It was a silly idea for a story, but I ended up writing six Jonathon Davies stories.  Three of them were his “Stand on the Issues,” where he gave a common sense “solution” to an issue.  The first one I wrote was on Immigration.  (I’m sure you are all shocked to learn that immigration was an issue eleven years ago.  It’s almost as if politicians haven’t done anything to solve the problem.) Recently, I remembered the solution Jonathon Davies had for the immigration problem, and I figured I should dig it out and offer it to the politicians of today.

His solution was twofold.  First, since there is no way to deport all the people in the country illegally (I wrote a blog a couple of years ago on why that is a stupid and dangerous plan), there needs to be some path towards citizenship.  His idea was to set up some commission that would work for a year that would allow those in the country illegally to come forward and get a temporary visa, or whatever.  Then after paying a small fine and going through a background check, they would be “citizens.” I put quotes around citizens because the real penalty for them being in the country illegally would be that they wouldn’t be allowed to vote for a period of ten years.  This would only apply to the adults.  At the end of the year, the commission would disband, and anyone found in the country illegally – whether they’ve been here for two days or two decades – would be deported.

The second part would be increased border security.  Not a wall – which is just an obstacle for people to go over, under, around, or through – but people who are more flexible and can more quickly change to fit current circumstances. 

Basically, Jonathon Davies would give both parties what they wanted, which can never happen because neither party will let the other get a “win.” Which just means that in 2030, we’ll probably still be arguing about this shit.