While China soars to the Moon, Obama keeps America grounded on Earth

December 14, 2013

Artist rendering of China’s “Jade Rabbit” moon rover

The wind howls round my library window, its bitter cold throwing itself against the glass constantly searching for a way to enter the confines of warmth and peace. The sky is overcast, the ridge line of trees to the north barely visible as the frozen rain paints itself onto the landscape one pellet at a time.

 It’s one of those December mornings that can go either way. Gray, gloomy, cold, depressing…OR… Gray, gloomy, cold and warm up to some Bailey’s and coffee, put on the the old Christmas classics, finish the decorations and then let the reading chair wrap around for an old fashioned winter afternoon.

 I had every intent of spending this Saturday on the latter. That is until the headline came glaring at me from my computer screen:

 China Lands On The Moon: Historic Robotic Lunar Landing Includes 1st Chinese Rover

 For the first time since the old Soviet Union did so in August of 1976, space hardware from a country other than the United States of America had soft landed on the surface of the moon.

 As the news sank in, so too the depression. Not that China had accomplished something in 2013 that the U.S. had already surpassed in 1969, but for what it means for our national image and world wide perception today.

 As the AP story states:

 “China’s space program is an enormous source of pride for the country,..” and “It’s still a significant technological challenge to land on another world,” said Peter Bond, consultant editor for Jane’s Space Systems and Industry.

 BBC News utilizes Dean Cheng, senior research fellow at the conservative think-tank, Heritage Foundation for analysis and context:

 China’s space programme was a good fit with China’s concept of “comprehensive national power”. This might be described as a measure of a state’s all-round capabilities.

Space exploration was, he told BBC News, “a reflection of your economic power, because you need spare resources to have a space programme. It clearly has military implications because so much space technology is dual use”.

He added: “It reflects your scientific and technological capabilities, it supports your diplomacy by making you appear strong.

“China is saying: ‘We are doing something that only two other countries have done before – the US and the Soviet Union.”

But it’s the next part of Cheng’s analysis that got me really depressed:

“The rover will reportedly be under Earth control at various points of its manoeuvres on the lunar surface,” Mr Cheng wrote in a blog post.

“Such a space observation and tracking system has implications not only for space exploration but for national security, as it can be used to maintain space surveillance, keeping watch over Chinese and other nations’ space assets.”

 Some will “ho-hum” the news as nothing more than China spending its money gallivanting around the cosmos for national pride. That would be all fine and dandy, except for the fact that the Chinese don’t gallivant around anywhere for nothing. They are methodical, they are patient, and they plan for the future. A future far more distant than the next monthly “crisis” we contrive here in the states.

Just a few short years ago such a headline would have barely touched my cortexial matter. “OK, China put a robot on the moon, big deal, we’ve got our own space program, we’re doing our own research, we’re ready to match anything they come up with”.

But then came 2008 and one Barack Obama in the Oval. Then came the priorities shifting to fairness,justice and redistribution rather than exploration, expertise and technology.

A focus, so short sighted, so lacking in true national interest that when OV-104 Atlantis returned to U.S. soil in 2011 it marked for the first time since the 1960’s that the United States of America had no way to launch a man into space and return him safely to earth.

In my July 9, 2011 column I quoted Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan warning against Obama’s lack of foresight:

“…It appears that we will have wasted our current $10-plus billion investment in Constellation and, equally importantly, we will have lost the many years required to recreate the equivalent of what we will have discarded.

For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature. While the President’s plan envisages humans traveling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years.

Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity……”

And reflected upon their words:

 A “long, downhill slide to mediocrity” indeed. Reading those words, Obama’s entire administration now comes into focus.

But sadly it’s not just the space program Obama is destroying.

Take a look around, unemployment up, gas prices up, food prices up, government debt up.

Every negative one can think of is going up, while every positive is on that one way “slide to mediocrity”.

There was a time in this country when we stood for more than just the buck. When we put our collective brains together and went from drawing board to moon walk in less than a decade.

Those people are still here, that spirit still lives. All that is needed is the leadership and vision to stir it once again. While we know Obama is not that leader, we can still hope and pray for 2012.

The country was warned by this columnist and many others not to fall for his rope-a-dope rhetoric back in 2008. Three years later we are paying the price for not heeding those warnings.

But perhaps the saddest point today is that this nation will be paying that price for many, many years to come.

 And with the disaster of the 2012 elections now reality, both the price and the pain is being raised to unprecedented levels.

Obama, in all his short sighted “wisdom” has NASA still signing deals with the Russians to hitch a ride on their rockets. The latest, according to space.com, was inked this past April and “reserves” for the United States a whopping six seats on Soyuz capsules through early 2017. And with the current rate being over $70 million a piece those are some seats.

When I woke up this morning I already knew the weather was going to be lousy but it didn’t really bother me that much. Had already prepared to make the best of a bad outside with a great day inside.

But ever since the election of 2008 I am learning that no matter what the weather, the idea of having a great day doesn’t stand a chance in hell until at least 2017.


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One Response to While China soars to the Moon, Obama keeps America grounded on Earth

  1. Steve Roark on December 14, 2013 at 11:46 am

    We’ll written. One thing I love about my cows is they don’t care about anything except eating, being part of their herd, raising their baby’s and growing old in an environment of decency and respect for their fellow herd mates. Kinda like America used to be.


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