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Apollo 17 Landing Site
The landing site of the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17 (Click for full panorama)

    Citing space age triumphs to belittle our terrestrial failures has always been a case of Lunar apples and Earthly oranges. Here’s why.

Start: How many times have you heard that phrase?

“If we could put a man on the Moon … why can’t we end poverty here at home?”

“If we could put a man on the Moon … why can’t we put a stop to the war?”

“… end homelessness?”

“… put an end to racism?”

“… give everyone jobs that needs them?”

And, usually, the argument involves something to do with, “all that money thrown away into space.”

(This last part always struck me as pretty thick, because that money wasn’t getting packed off into space and squandered by Lunar spendthrifts — it was getting used down here.)

In all seriousness this is a good question, but the answer is actually staring right at us, if we’d think about it for a moment.

Lunar (or Martian) Apples and Earthly Oranges

In my last post, about Dennis Tito’s Inspiration Mars venture, I had a couple of comments here and on Facebook that sounded exactly like this sentiment, dismissing Tito’s idea as a pointless exercise and the use of otherwise valuable resources in a completely misguided way.

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Red Moon's New Cover

The new cover for
Red Moon

    Start: As the co-author of the Moon Race thriller Red Moon, I’m naturally pleased that the novel has continued to reach a sizable audience, driven mostly by word of mouth.
    Some of you may have run across the new cover for Red Moon shown here. For reasons that escape me you won’t see this on the Amazon site, but you will see it on the Barnes and Noble site. I am holding off on updating the cover image here (and on the Luna 15 site where you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about it) because this may be changing yet again soon, and for a reason that I can’t talk about yet … though hopefully soon.
    Over the last few months, Variance Publishing has hosted on their blog a number of posts featuring their offerings and commentary by their authors, and I was invited to contribute. Stanley Tremblay of Variance gave me permission to repost these here, and today’s post is the first of the three I contributed, a question and answer from the publisher about the book, and yours truly.

Authors Are People Too! – Daniel Brenton

Tidings Variance fans!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are excited for this, the last, Authors Are People Too! Our final guest is Daniel Brenton, co-author of RED MOON.

Q. What questions have you always wished people would ask you?
A. We managed to finagle a few interviews, a couple of them being by podcasters, which turned into interviews by phone or by Skype. One interviewer asked a question that I felt was really pretty thoughtful, to the point of being innovative: “Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wished I had?”

I think we both drew a blank at that point.

I didn’t realize interviews could lead to moments of hair-raising astonishment, but this one in particular did. I’ll need to set this up a little.

In the book, Dave Michaels used the historical character of S.P. Korolev, the father of (and driving force behind) the Soviet space program, to make the point that the space program was a way to divert attention (and some funding) away from the nuclear weapons race. On the other side of the ocean, he had a collaborator in spirit: most of you probably remember John Kennedy’s words that provoked America to throw the gauntlet down before the Soviet Union and challenge it to a duel in the heavens:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.

With this, Kennedy did in fact turn the Cold War into a symbolic war in the heavens, which almost certainly distracted us from our seemingly hell-bent drive for Mutual Assured Destruction.

In the interview I made reference to this theme and specifically to Kennedy’s challenge, and managed to get out the sentence: “by doing this, he may in fact have saved the human race.” In the final podcast, the interviewer closed the episode by seizing on this sentence and repeating it staccato with several enhancing effects, which, frankly, gave me chills when I heard it.

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