Monday, January 19, 2004

So the project that absolutetly had to be finished for today isn't. No great surprises there, but we're sooooo close. I hate this part of a project, where you can taste the end but it just keeps escaping you. My bugs list has been hovering at the 70-80 mark for over a week now, but it seems slightly more under control, although that might be because there's not much testing going on at the moment.

So I continue to work, distracting myself a little with news about the NASA Mars missions and Bush's announcement that man will return to the Moon and then go onto Mars by 2020. The geek in me is loving this and really wants it to happen, but then the realist kicks in and I have to wonder if it will come to pass. Remember that Bush Sr said much the same thing. I think this new proposal is more sensible in that Bush Jr isn't asking for pots of cach from Congress which would never happen. The first Moon race being a product of a time that, hopefully, will never return.

I don't hold with all these people who say that too much money is spent on Space and that it could be better diverted. That's just so much bollocks. It's just unfortunate that the benefits of Space activities can in no way be seen as originating from it.

Besides all the rational arguments there's the emotional argument that humans are natural explorers. Whether from curiosity or the innate survival instinct the fact remains. We will one day travel to other planets either because of proposals such as this or due to private enterprise seeing it as profitable.

One thing that people who are debating the latest proposals have not mentioned is X-prize, the competition for the first privately funded, sustainable human launch capability that is looking likely to be won this year or very early next year. Okay this is a small start, most of the projects only shooting for very low ballistic trajectories and not for orbit. But 2020 is a long way away, and once one team wins then someone will start making money from this stuff, then the expansion of the industry will rocket (pun intended)!

So by the end of the year we may have a viable private industry human launch capability, let us think what could private industry accomplish in 15/16 years. Well look at what the computer industry managed to do in it's first 15 years. From laboratory to desktop. The world is an extremely fast moving place at the best (or worst depending on who you are and how you look at such things), but when there is a major new, and untapped, industry to exploit things move fucking fast.

Personally I don't care how it all happens, just so long as I get to go into orbit at the least before I die...

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