Tag Archive for space

Bring Back Space Heroes

Take a one-way trip to Mars? Now that’s balls.

That’s exactly what’s missing from our current space program: big, hairy balls. We worry about costs, about safety, about how people are going to get along. Meanwhile there are plenty of volunteers ready to be strapped in and blasted into space. Sure, they know they could die, but they’re willing to take the risk because they know it needs to be done.

Think about the old days. Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Buzz Aldrin, Yuri Gagarin… These guys didn’t let their mortality stop them. Even the atmosphere-bound guys like Chuck Yeager accepted there was a chance the only way they’d return to the ground was in a flaming ball of wreckage. Time was these guys were the heroes and role models. Kids wanted to grow up and be blasted into space, too.

Now kids want to be Hannah Montana.

Of course, it might help if the space program were a little sexier. If you’ve got the money, you can fly across the ocean in first-class luxury. Cars and planes are loaded up with all the latest technology, and smartphones have become disposable toys. Meanwhile, my iPod touch probably has more computing power than what’s under the Space Shuttle’s dashboard. If private jets are souped-up Ferraris, the Space Shuttle is a ’70s-era woody station wagon held together with duct tape and Bondo.

You want to bring back space heroes? Build that Mars ship. Show them something new. You can’t tell me anything we build now isn’t going to be light years beyond the tin cans we put up in the ’60s.

You want to bring back space heroes? Let them break new boundaries and brave new frontiers. Give these heroes a reason to put those big, hairy balls to use.

You want to bring back space heroes? Stop talking about it and do it. Stop sweating every little detail, because they only way we’re really going to know if something’s going to work is to try it.

Load ’em up, strap ’em in, light the fire.

Let’s rock.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Pansperminated (Redux)

A Columbia University professor has presented evidence that meteorites carried a payload of amino acids to Earth, thus delivering the building blocks of life to our planet. This reinforces the concept of panspermia, which I’ve blogged about several times in the past.

It has yet to be proven amino acids spontaneously developed into life, but if these findings are proven we know that there are more building blocks for life out there. We have to wonder not only where these acids may have come from, but where else they may have been delivered. I may not (yet) buy it that there are aliens cruising our atmosphere, but I disagree with the average Joe’s assertion that were unique or special in this big universe.

I hope, too, that the scientists will investigate the source of the meteorites. It seems more likely they’d have come from within our solar system, but the implications are huge if they came from extra-solar space.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Join the Space Cult

I glanced at a table near the bathroom in the local Borders store and found an Illinois MUFON application staring back at me.

I was in the mood for a laugh, so I snapped one up. It turns out for twenty bucks, I too can join the search for little green men in flying saucers. I wonder if there’s a membership card and a secret handshake. I’m half tempted to join just so I can find out if the majority of the membership is comprised of Stanton Friedman types or if they’re just your garden variety, mouth-breathing, basement-dwelling dweebs. (One may may be indistinguishable from the other from a distance, but at least you can hold a conversation with someone like Mr. Friedman.)

While it does make sense to me that there could be life on other planets, perhaps even (now or in the past) on other planets in our own solar system, I find most people are too quick to assign extraterrestrial origins to anything they can’t otherwise explain.

For example, an ex-governor of Arizona claims he spotted a UFO. The article has the following quote:

“As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man-made object I’d ever seen.”

That’s often enough for most people to tag him as an expert on the subject. However, when was his Air Force experience? What was his job? What was his security clearance? Engineers can conceivably be working on all kinds of strange and unusual technologies that he wouldn’t be privy to.

Consider the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. I don’t doubt when it was first under development, many pilots would never have recognized it, much less your average Joe who spotted it flying high overhead. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of UFO reports could now be attributed to the B-2. In fact, some say many of today’s UFO sightings may be attributable to the hypothetical Aurora or other deltoid aircraft with exotic propulsion systems like external burn.

Are there unexplainable events out there? Sure. But does that automatically make them the result of visiting aliens? Of course not.

2,000 years ago, people thought the Earth was flat. They explained things they couldn’t understand as the work of gods and monsters, including things like thunderstorms, which we now take for granted. They thought tornadoes and hurricanes were divine punishment (hell, we still refer to them as “acts of God”) rather than natural weather phenomena. People today have a much better grasp on science, however, so they instead conjure up science-based strangeness to explain the unexplainable. They replace Zeus and Hera with Martians and Greys.

On another side of it, the UFO chasers are very much a cult. I think so many of them so badly want to believe that they latch on to anything they can’t easily explain and call it alien rather than fully investigating the object or event in question. The Haitian UFO video is a perfect example of people disregarding the obvious because it contradicts their faith.

How odd it is to see a hybrid of faith and science when the two are so often mutually exclusive. Does anyone else think it’s funny that both divine creation and alien genetic engineering both site a Missing Link as a proof? They can’t both be right, and something that simply may not have been found yet is a flimsy piece of evidence anyway.

So I think I’ll take a pass on joining the great space cult. While UFO’s, extraterrestrial life, and spacecraft are, and always will remain, a fascinating subject for me, I’m not sure there’s such a big difference between alien abduction claims and the Virgin Mary appearing as a water stain.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.