Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post on Sputnik:
Fifty years ago this week, America was shaken out of technological complacency by a beeping 180-pound aluminum ball orbiting overhead. Sputnik was a shock because we had always assumed that Russia was nothing but a big, lumbering and all-brawn bear. He could wear down the Nazis and produce mountains of steel but had none of our savvy or sophistication. Then one day we wake up and he has beaten us into space, placing overhead the first satellite to orbit the Earth since God placed the moon where it could give us lovely sailing tides.
Much has followed that.
Satellites map the earth, show us the weather, guide us down the road, bounce our
communications. The world as we know it would be totally different.
The space program has brought man to the moon and unmanned ships to the end of the solar system; with the space telescope we can almost see the beginning of time.
The spin off has made thousands of products that would never have been developed if the space program had not done the basic work first.
Without the space program the world would be much poorer place
And we have the dream that we can find the resources in space that will solve the physical part of many of mankind’s problems. If we don't lose the vision and courage.
Mom and Dad found when Sputnik would be overhead and dark enough to see. We went out in the back yard and watched until we saw it. A star moving too fast in the wrong direction.
And to my seven year old self I knew it was important.
It was a school night and we actually got to stay
up past bed time.
4 months ago