Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why care about the Orion launch?” you ask? Good question. Timely too. (Besides, it beats answering the question: “Why does my dad embarrass me?” Seriously? This is how he pays for your Christmas presents!)
For those of you so bombarded by stories about folks second-guessing the grand juries of our country who may have missed it, this question refers to the NASA launch of the Orion spacecraft that is on its way to splashdown as this is written.
So why care about the Orion launch? It’s your tax dollars at work. It’s a distraction from being disappointed at the oft’times slanted news coverage every time a non-white lawbreaker pays a high price for not cooperating with the authorities.
More importantly, some like Jesus Diaz who blogs on Gizmodo believe that “in 1972 we abandoned a path that could have possibly gotten us to Mars and other planets by now. 1972 marked humanity’s last mission to the Moon and with it, all the optimism of the space era died. Today we opened the gate to that path . . . we are going back to the stars.”
Why is the Orion launch significant? Perhaps author Carl Sagan put it best in his book The Pale Blue Dot: “(T)he sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls . . . We invest far-off places with a certain romance. Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians: ‘I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas . . .’ those other worlds— promising untold opportunities—beckon.
Diaz and many others agree that the Orion launch is the vessel that will in a sense “take humans back to the Moon, asteroids, Phobos and Mars.” In a “work-a-day” sense, this is a relatively insignificant event.
Diaz admits: “Some may not be seeing it now, in this sh*t-storm of celebrity news, wars, and petty confrontations, but we are witnessing the start of a new era. One day someone will look back at (this launch) day and the day the first manned Dragon goes up and the first manned Orion and . . . say: ‘That was the moment, how lucky for those people to witness all that’ . . .”
Indeed, to the millions of people who look to the future like Diaz: “the path is open again . . . we are starting to get back to the stars.
Why care about the Orion launch? Now you know.
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