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Moon Colony To Be Occupied By Lego-Men

Newt Gingrich’s moon colony may be crowded by trespassers soon after it is settled. Two Canadian teens(!), investing about $400 and under five months of work, recently launched a small Lego man 25 km (15.5 mi) above the earth, reaching the stratosphere.

A hundred years ago, spaceflight was science fiction. Fifty-five years ago, the Soviet Union shocked the world with the launch of a small, bleeping sphere into space. And now? Some high school kids from our neighbor to the north gave a Lego man a ride into near space. Next stop: the moon.

Science has made vast leaps in progress; who would have thought even a decade ago that basement experiments would put legos in space or iPhones in the stratosphere? Yet this is also something to be wary of. If Canadian teens can put Legoman into space, what will do generations of terrorists and rogue governments do?

Weapons of mass destruction still cost a lot of money.  But for how long? In fifty years what will high school students and terrorists be able to do that only well-funded and innovative scientists can do today?

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  • vanderleun

    Oh, thanks for that thought, Mead. You are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.

  • Eurydice

    You might want to reconsider high altitude blogging, because this is the kind of logic that isn’t. Most likely terrorists and rogue governments have had access to commercially available weather balloons for some time now. Maybe even on that new-fangled thing, the internet – that marvel you were just admiring for its easy access to bespoke shirts and inexpensive education. Just think of all the years of dread you’ve missed by not considering that.

    As for “who would have thought even a decade ago…” – lots of people. Try googling though some science fair projects to see the things kids have been studying and inventing over the years. Even in the dim, dark ages of my teen years we were building rockets, robots and nuclear reactors (we won’t mention the unintentional incendiary devices).

  • kris

    Hey, you kids, get out of my stratosphere!

  • Jim.

    That’s an interesting thought. Vacuum-rated minifigures… Someone at NASA has to have tried it.

    But seriously. If either Romney or Obama wins in 2012, we’ll probably see a corporate logo on the Moon before an American flag. Possibly a corporation you’ve never heard of, but run by a person whose last corporation is a household name like Amazon, Google, or PayPal.

    (Romney would have a hard time firing those people. I’m not sure that it shows good judgement on his part that he would want to.)

    If Gingrich clinches the presidency, things would be different. That’s not out of the question, by the way, considering that compared to Obama he’s not that unpopular, and Romney has always been the candidate of the GOP establishment that got left for dead in 2006 and 2008. Besides, Romney may not have made very many enemies with his “you’re fired” snark, but he made more than he thought, and those will be very, very bitter enemies indeed.

  • Frank Arden

    When I was a child my first heroes were the Wright Brothers. They are still.

    These two bicycle mechanics, educated no further than high school, used physics and the calculus to determine the four coefficients of aerodynamics: lift, gravity, thrust and drag that are still used today.

    Dr. Samuel Langley’s last embarrassing attempts at flight, and his hopes (lavishly funded by the Smithsonian Institution), were, in 1903, drowned in the Potomac River when his so-called flying machine, launched from a ship, failed to take to the air.

    I’ve often wondered why Langley, in spite of his education, competence and funding, chose to experiment over water instead of land. Perhaps he feared his well paid “pilot” of his machine would enjoy no hope of survival if the thing nose-dived into the ground instead of water.

    Wilbur and Orville Wright were willing to put their lives on the line when they flew their airplane from the ground. They had confidence it would take to the air, but they didn’t know how high it would go and if they could bring it safely back to the ground on December 17th, 1903.

    The two lads who launched a Lego man to the stratosphere remind me of Wilbur and Orville.

    Barack Obama’s only cut of note to his $1.4 trillion annual spending was to limit NASA’s future and to send Americans to the International Space Center on the backs of Russian cosmonauts on top of some Soyuz contraption.

    I believe the second greatest moment in the history of America was when President Kennedy challenged this nation to be the first to put men on the moon and to do other things, not because they were easy, but because they were hard.

    I believe the greatest moment in the history of this great nation is when we actually did it in July 1969.

    I really don’t know why Newt Gingrich is so derided for dreaming about going back to the moon. America’s greatest strength is that we are a nation of dreamers.

    The American Dream is not only about owning a house or having a fine job. It is also about being part of an exceptional experiment, almost indefinable, perhaps providential, often frustrated, disappointed, critical and self loathing.

    Yet, these dynamics of national introspection have always formed a critical mass of people who expect more than what they have, people who despise limitations, people who are motivated against those who tell them they cannot fly, or dream.

    This country went to the moon several times and came safely back.

    Whatever you think about Richard Nixon, his words to American men on the moon have weight and thickness.

    From their base in the little landing module, the Eagle, on the Sea of Tranquility, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took a phone call from Nixon. He called it the most famous phone call ever made from the Oval Office.

    Nixon then said, “Because of what you have done, the heavens have become part of man’s world. For one brief moment in the whole history of the world, all the people of the Earth are truly one.”

    And, as the world watched and became one, the United States brought its men home safely. They left on the Moon a plaque and an American flag.

    The plaque read:

    “Here men from the Planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969, AD. We came in peace for all mankind.”

    In his poem, “Birches,” Robert Frost says:

    “One by one he subdued his father’s trees until he took the stiffness out of them. And not one was left limp for him to conquer.”

    “So was I once a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be.”

    The brave Americans who went into the air at Kitty Hawk and to the Moon subdued and conquered, as they swung through space, the trees that got in their way.

    I dream this wonderful country will return to its greatness. I pray that it might.

  • Mark Michael

    Mark Levin asked, “Whcih idea is loonier, Gingrich’s moon colony or Romney’s Massachusetts’ RomneyCare?” National Review was polling their readers what they thought about the moon colony proposal.

    Levin was trying to get conservatives to focus on the more serious issues facing the country: can we repeal ObamaCare if an R gets elected president? ObamaCare was modeled on Mass. RomneyCare in many particulars. Is Romney really the best guy to go up against Obama if conservatives think ObamaCare is that bad that it should be repealed lock, stock, and barrel?

    Romney says he’ll propose that Congress repeal it the first day he’s in office. But he doesn’t spell out what he’ll replace it with. (Maybe a cleaned-up version of RomneyCare!)

    Another serious issue relates to our massive annual budget deficit: one trillion dollars plus for the 4th year in a row. When will we as a country descend to the level of countries like Greece, Portugal – if we keep pursuing these Keynesian-style macroeconomic policies.

    Re: a moon colony, the subject of WRM’s post

    IMO it’s time we turn over space exploration to the private sector. Gingrich did propose strong private-sector aspects to his proposal, but the problem is this kind of proposal conveys a message of not taking our financial situation seriously, if you are willing to divert energy to propose such a far-out idea. Fact is, much of the technology to do this kind of thing has matured substantially so that the risk involved is low enough that private companies can estimate the costs reasonably well.

  • Joe

    Jim –

    The Russians already do that.

  • Jim.

    Ultimately, the role for the Federal govenment in Space is that of a Customer, not as a dominant and overwhelming force. If NASA were to offer a solid chunk of cash for a private venture to supply materials / goods / services in orbit, they would find that their cash outlay would be far smaller than if they tried for the same goals through their traditional (and rather Blue) jobs-and-patronage system.

    (They should certainly make it clear what goals they are pursuing in space; at least one venture that could revolutonize the commercial satellite industry is dead in the water because NASA *might* get into that market space.)

    Like Queen Isabella and Henry the Navigator, NASA is likely to be the only customer for serious basic science and basic exploration (ventures with no immediately clear business case) for some time. However, by supporting the buildup of private on-orbit industries, rather than keeping all their (very Blue) jobs in-house, they could accomplish their goals a lot more cheaply. They’d accomplish a lot more of them that way, too.

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