Pre-post note 1: SpaceX rules.
Pre-post note 2: Oops. After publishing this post, I noticed it didn’t have any title. But now it has. Problem solved, because that’s what I do and that’s who I am. Problem-solver. I’ll shut up now.
“The Falcon has landed.”
While browsing my Facebook feed this morning, I noticed that a mustache-wielding show host had accidentally said the wrong name when announcing the winner in a Miss Universe pageant, only realising his mistake painfully late, causing all kinds of confusion. Very awkward stuff.
But now, I’ve been home for a while after a very stressful day at the mall (which I’ll be reporting about in a post coming up shortly), I stumbled upon my favourite site, Wait But Why. Much to my delight, a new post was up, titled:
What the hell?
Here I was reading about a shallow, totally superficial beauty pageant dominating my Facebook feed, how the host royally fucked up, when this has happened? I can’t believe shit like this doesn’t “break the internet” (ugh, I hate that term), but when Kim Kardashian does kinda nothing really, somehow that is a top story in many people’s lives. And not only among some of my Facebook friends, but apparently all over the world, based on the reactions of the internet. There’s definitely a disturbance in the Force.
So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that SpaceX is trying to significantly and dramatically reduce the cost of space travel. Imagine if a plane could only fly once, an airplane ticket would cost millions of dollars. Not ideal. So SpaceX are working on reusing their rockets, which is apparently unbelievably hard. However, the geniuses (no sarcasm) at SpaceX somehow successfully managed to do so now. They launched their rocket – the Falcon 9 – from somewhere in Florida, up the rocket went into space, launched 11 satellites into orbit, and then somehow managed to land the rocket somewhere else, also in Florida. No damage, no hick-ups, no errors, no failure – just pure and shattering success. This is historical, and has obviously never been done before in the history of Space-Human endeavours. In the future, humans will look back upon this day and this feat as one of the stepping stones that made intergalactic (or at least interplanetary) travel possible. Huge.
I was watching the uploaded video in the link above, and it was almost magical to watch people’s anticipation (mostly SpaceX employees, and the author of Wait But Why, Tim Urban. I’m not jealous at all.) and the subsequent reactions when they all witnessed this groundbreaking, incredible and successful achievement. The energy levels were insane. I was almost moved when I watched it. Big stuff.
I mean, that excitement and intensity I experienced from seeing the rocket successfully return to Earth, seeing all the fire from the rocket’s engines just disappear like nothing, all to the overwhelming, goosebump-triggering cheers from the crowd… Epic. The Falcon has fucking landed.
They were celebrating like… I don’t even know anything similar. I’d imagine they’ve been working super-hard on this project for a long time, and a lot was at stake here, so of course it was a major relief when it succeeded. It made me wonder how it must have felt to watch the moon landing in 1969 on TV, and almost all of the world probably sat glued to their couches. Real history.
Defense Budget: 1 Trillion USD. NASA’s 50-year Budget: 800 billion USD.
Before this starts to turn into a long Mini-post (which wouldn’t really be a Mini, then, would it?), I’m gonna wrap it up now.
But before I do that, I have to say that I consider things like these to be of the outmost importance to mankind. Sure, it’s the Americans who pulled this off, but it’s really a human achievement. According to this site, the budget NASA has to work with is utterly dwarfing in comparison to the military budget in the US. Imagine how short-sighted and plain fucking stupid future-humans will think we are when they look back to this era in human history, when we’re taking turns to kill each other in different wars over meaningless disputes, when what really matters is out there.
Just wonder, what could NASA accomplish with a budget similar to the military one?
Final note: Just to make it perfectly clear, not only is a trillion way, way more than a billion (even 800 of them), but the crazy-large US Military budget is only for one, single year, while the pathetically cute-looking NASA budget is for a staggering 50-year lifetime. Let’s readjust our priorities here, shall we?