Africans must go to the moon - Musuweni
This is a somewhat belated rejoinder to Doberman's insert on the fool Musuweni (Ugandan president) who expressed the philosophical delusion a few months ago of "going to the moon".
I watched a documentary by the BBC on spaceflight recently and in particular the Apollo 13 flight. Ill-fated but nevertheless termed a "successful failure". And despite the recent notable disasters of the two space shuttle missions in which all crew were obliterated, it flooded my being with a glorious realisation of how fantastically far Western culture has brought us. Despite the failures, it is glorious! The Apollo 13 story itself is one of pure courage, brilliance and self reliance.
From the early days of ancient Greece through to the Renaissance and the age of enlightenment, we raced non-stop through the Copernican revolution, the birth of modern science and the Newtonian paradigm, straight onto the industrial, and currently the technological revolutions.
Einstein re-formulated the physics of space- time geometry and put us theoretically far ahead of where we actually found ourselves. It was the comparatively modest, but extremely accurate, predictions of Newton's calculus that put us on the moon. Calculations that were formulated in the 17Th century.
Many will attempt to claim these as a prize for humanity itself. Perhaps this may be so, as in the often quoted words of Neil Armstrong, "One small step for a man...." But ask yourself honestly then; why does an African express the desire to "go to the moon?"
Surely this is a tacit admission that they, Africans, are different? That they are lagging behind? That they have a burning desire to achieve what they see another race has achieved? Why should an African, if he is on equal terms with the rest of humanity, not be content with what has already been achieved by humanity?
"Houston, we have a problem."
Those words were immortalized during the tense days of the Apollo 13 lunar mission crisis.
The moon mission was launched on April 11, 1970. All goes smoothly until day two after launch, when an electrical problem in one of the Service Module's oxygen tanks, caused an explosion that led to failure of the tanks and loss of electrical power. The Command Module, however, continued to be functional, as it had its own battery power and oxygen tanks.
As these were designed to be used only during the last hours of the mission, the Command Module was shut down and the Lunar Module was used as a "lifeboat" on their return trip to the Earth. As the courageous astronauts faced the dilemma of either suffocating or freezing to death, Mattingly and Mission Control leader Gene Kranz struggled to find a way to bring the crew back home, all the while knowing that the spacemen face probable death once the battered ship re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.
The damages to the Service Module made a moon landing impossible. After extensive discussions with the control center, it was decided to bring the crew safely back to Earth by returning to a free return trajectory, "catapulting" around the moon, with the Lunar Module's descent propulsion system. (The mathematical calculations were done manually by the Captain using pencil and paper)
The descent engine was fired twice, once to speed the return, and later, for a minor course correction. A lot of courage and ingenuity under tough conditions was required by the crew, the flight controllers, and the support personnel. Limited power made voice communication worsen with each passing minute. The Lunar Module's consumables could last for, and sustain only two people for two days, not three people for four days. Hence, to conserve power, the Lunar Module was powered down to its lowest level.
The courage of the Apollo 13 Mission Operation Team was an inspiration to the world. Following the "successful" tragedy, many movies were made on the Apollo 13 mission. People also began to regard 13 as an unlucky number - the failed mission was called Apollo 13, and the problems on the module began on April 13, 1970. The command module of the Apollo 13 is currently on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Hutchison, Kansas.
Global Peace Index 2013 - *The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has released it's latest Global Peace Index (GPI) report.* * **The IEP is no kumbaya-we-are-all-one love fest, ...
20 minutes ago