Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sputnik - 50 Years Ago Today

Look at that boy's heed! It's like Sputnik!

Sputnik launched Soviets, U.S. into Space Race

Then, 50 years ago today, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1. It
achieved an orbit around the Earth, circling the globe every 96 minutes. The shiny sphere, just under 2 feet in diameter with four antennae, could be seen passing overhead like a moving star at night. Its radio beeps could be heard on ham radios all over the earth. It orbited the earth 1,440 times before burning up in Earth's atmosphere in early 1958.

The world had its first artificial moon. And just like that,
the world changed.

The article is written for The Asbury Park Press by Mike Black, a science teacher from New Jersey, and occasional call-in guest (as Mike The Teacher) on the Ron & Fez Show, who I had the pleasure to meet once. A great guy. Very smart and I always like when he schools listeners who don't know sputnik about Sputnik and all things science, in which our country is sorely lacking behind these days. Too many people are worried about gay marriage, abortion, religion and countless other nonsense that stops any development and advancement of the human race.

As Mike writes...

It remains to be seen what the next 50 years will bring, what the
world will be like in 2057 when the Space Age is a century old. Things seem uncertain at best. The momentum of our triumphs has been slowed by bureaucratic inertia and lack of funding. Will we one day return to the moon? Will humans have a society on Mars? Will we be traveling the stars for real, or again, with just our imaginations?

What about today? Are we a science-literate nation? Are science
and an understanding of technology high priorities in politics, in education and our culture?

Fifty years ago, we were comfortable in the knowledge of our
dominance over other countries, sure that our nation was a scientifically literate one. Space exploration was not seen as a high-priority national pursuit, certainly not something to waste tax dollars over. Sputnik changed all of that and more overnight in 1957. Do we need another wake-up call?

Damn right we need a wake up call. At this point, China will beat us back to the moon. But we shouldn't be racing against each other, we should be working with each other. Just not with those deadly Chinese toys.

Of course, back then, Russia fell by the wayside when it came to reaching the moon. But they had good reason, after all, Aliens forced Americans out from the Moon (Pravada story, have a laugh).

1 comment:

anne altman said...

they say they found evidence of another earth in the making. can we go there?

please research, nerd.

thank you.