Saturday, October 4, 2008
Happy Sputnik Day
Sputnik 1 was launched 4 October 1957, 51 years ago today. Sputnik is the first major news story I followed after learning to read on or about 17 September 1957. It fascinated me so much I read all I could about: astronomy, rocketry and the "IGY". IGY? International Geophysical Year, 1957-58. I remember when the American public made Werner von Braun, 1912-1977, a "rock star". Now we follow the antics of that drunken fool Paris Hilton. We passed 1958's NDEA, National Defense Education Act, which Admiral Hyman Rickover, 1900-86 pushed. Now we have No Child Left Behind. In 1961 JFK gave a speech announcing we would land on the moon by 1970. And so we did. What's happened since? In 1969 I figured we would have landed on Mars by 1980 and had a permanent moon base by 1990. Didn't happen. Instead we've "lost" at least 25 years of scientific advancement. Look at where we've gone and what we've done in the last fifty years. Amazing!