Posted On: Wednesday - January 17th 2018 7:58PM MST
In Topics:   Humor  Americans  Race/Genetics  Science  Socialism/Communism
Peak Stupidity has no particular anniversary to celebrate here regarding this 2nd lunar landing mission. It's just that the youtube video of the dramatic (in terms of audio anyway) footage has been sitting here running scripts and slowing down the computer! That's not a great reason to write a post, but I had this in mind for sometime anyway - good commentary will always out, as
Next summer, '09, will be 5 DECADES since Apollo 11, the mission in which 2 American men landed on the moon only 8 years or so after the first American in space, and the latter was only several (like 3 - 5) years since American rockets that could get a man even near orbit were working properly even 1/2 the time! What amazing progress by a country of can-do people, especially engineers, technicians, and pilots! The Peak Stupidity blog wrote a small bit here and here 3 months back regarding China and which is the "can-do" country now - the reader probably doesn't need a hint.
This video is of the landing phase, and though the 2 pilots sound mostly calm and collected, there was not much room for error in what they were doing here. They had auto guidance till a few hundred feet up, but had to be completely aware of radar altitude (well you're not gonna get barometric on the moon anyway!), position, descent angle, vertical speed, and fuel remaining in percent, but extra could be measured in seconds, as 1 minute's worth was a lot to spare! On this mission one goal was to try to land very accurately in position, so as to be near enough to a 3 y/o unmanned space probe to walk to it (they came within 1/4 mile). Pete Conrad got pretty excited when he saw the crater and surrounding of the intended landing spot. People could read a map back then, I'll tell you what.
Footage kinda ended abruptly (not in this vid) after Alan Bean accidentally pointed the for-the-first-time color TV camera into the sun, and it was toast.
Back to the question - has there ever been a country in such great shape economically and demographically to have accomplished such a feat? I don't want to get into too much detail, but the electronics of the age were so far from what any cheap 10-year-old Motorola phone would have now (compared to the whole spacecraft put together!) that Earth was a different world from now too. The REAL ENGINEERING involved, no, not software programming, but true mechanical and electrical genius and problem-solving was tremendous. How far back has the onset of Socialism, being implemented that same decade, set American from the course to the stars that we could have otherwise stayed on? It's not just the money that's been wasted and done much more harm than good - it's the attitude of this whole place that has changed. The whole thing is saddening, and just as a needed pick-me-up, a pretty humorous video as an "opposing argument" is presented further below.
To make this Peak Stupidity commentary fairly timely here, I'll just ask the question - could this have been accomplished in Haiti?! Please don't insult the intelligence of any of us here with an answer in the comments. I mean, given all the money the world could come up with, I doubt things could possibly have gotten any further than the building of a decent road to a non-existent launching pad. There is not the human capital to do anything like this, and there never will be, unless the island had the population swapped out with, say, I dunno, Norway? Well, though Norwegians could turn the Haiti side of that island into a livable place with lots of work, I maintain the Americans of today, much less the Norwegians, are not up to anything like this anymore. Things could change though.
The Apollo 12 mission, as seen here, and the rest of the US manned space program, were accomplished at a time when America was the furthest thing from a shithole than the world had ever seen, both before and since. Here's hoping we go in the right direction again, after Peak Stupidity.
After all the criticism of this country that has been written here at Peak Stupidity for over a year, lest the reader feel we have become a bit shitholier-than-thou, we present some humor in the form of a Ken Burns-like video documentary of "The Old Negro Space Program":
(Just as a first comment before you watch this, the funniest stuff is the "Ken Burns-like" interviewee professor, wearing his sport jacket as a professor should, using the phrases "if I may", "if you will", and "as it were". That's what cracked me up the most. Check out the credits, too: "No one actually caught fire.")
Old Negro Space Program:
PS, I just read also that the Apollo 12 mission was the one featured, via actors, in the show, OK officially "docu-drama" miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" back in 1998 which was 3 decades after the mission.