Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · What‘s over that...
. . . .

What‘s over that hill?

Stephen Tuttle - August 1st, 2011
What’s Over That Hill?
The United States is out of the human space travel business. The recently
landed Endeavor mission was the last of our shuttle flights and we no
longer have any kind of program of our own to transport our astronauts
into space. At the very least, we’re taking a long hiatus.
The next time American men and women go to space it will be as
hitchhikers, bumming a ride on a Russian craft. We’ve become that member
of the carpool who no longer has a car.
Exploring those lights in the night sky has long been a fascination of
human beings. What’s out there, or might be, is part of myth and lore
going back millenia.
The cornerstone on which rocketry and space exploration sits goes all the
way back to the 17th century and Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of gravity and
motion. It just took us three centuries to figure out how to apply them.
Robert Goddard made quantum leaps in theoretical rocketry in the early
part of the 20th century and by World War II Britain, the United States
and Germany were all hell-bent on developing rockets that could be used as
weapons. War is always an excellent incentive for scientific
breakthroughs.
By the late 1950s, the Germans and British were no longer in the space
race but the late and unlamented Soviet Union and the United States were
locked in battle. The Soviets successfully launched their Sputnik, the
first man-made object to orbit earth while emitting a detectable signal,
and the United States was suffering a succession of spectacular, public
failures.
It wasn’t until 1961 when President John Kennedy declared we were going to
the moon that things picked up for us. We were woefully behind the
Soviets, who successfully put the first man into space, the first man into
orbit, the first woman in space, the first space walk and a succession of
other firsts. They even managed to crash a couple of unmanned capsules on
the moon.
We caught up, and more, with the Apollo program. When Neil Armstrong
stepped on the surface of the moon in 1969, we had won the first part of
the space race. Another 11 Americans would leave their footprints on the
dusty lunar surface. The United States was the unquestioned leader in
human space travel.
Many of us assumed this was the beginning of a glorious period of space
exploration, that we would keep going farther and reaching for more. As
President Kennedy said, because it’s the hard thing to do.
We’re not so much into the hard thing, anymore. We can’t even agree on
the easy things.
Which isn’t to suggest we haven’t had some spectacular successes with
unmanned space exploration. Both Voyager and Pioneer satellites wandered
through the solar system and beyond, the Hubble telescope continues to
provide breathtaking photographs of wonders near and very far, we
successfully landed a spacecraft on an asteroid, we put two rovers on Mars
that crept along the surface for months.
Human exploration hasn’t really kept up. Once the moon programs were over
and we moved into the shuttle program, Americans in space didn’t get
beyond the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is another
technological marvel and it is remarkable that it has been continuously
occupied by humans for more than a decade.
But the ISS, depending on it’s orbit, is somewhere between 180 and 280
miles from earth. That’s not very adventuresome at all. It’s as if we
set out from Traverse City to explore the world and decided to stop before
we made it to Chicago. And we now have to catch a ride with someone else
just to get that far.
Aside from the pure science and joy of discovery, the space program has
given us a bounty of practical applications. MRI machines and CAT and PET
scanners, much of nuclear medicine, water purification systems, cordless
tools, hazardous gas sensors, ATM technology and more than 1,600 other
direct spin-offs have resulted in tens of thousands of jobs and trillions
of dollars in economic impact.
The science will be slower, the discoveries fewer and the practical
applications less if we’ve surrendered our leadership in space, including
human space travel.
There is a story, likely apocryphal but nonetheless telling, about one of
the first times we successfully landed a craft on Mars capable of taking
photographs. It was immobile but, still, we had landed on Mars and were
about to receive photographs of the landing site.
The photos came streaming down 95 million miles from the Martian surface
in numerical code. Computers converted the code into pixils of imagery
that appeared on a screen as thin horizontal bands. The scientists at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena waited patiently as the narrow bands
stacked one atop another until a photo began to take form.
After many minutes, when the computers had finally completed their
enhancements and corrections, there was, on screen, a picture of the
surface of Mars. A salmon-colored wonderland of rocks and dirt lay in
front of us with a gentle hill on the horizon outlining a pink sky. It
was an astonishing moment in what was a staggering achievement.
The story goes that the silence was broken by someone in the room whose
thirst for discovery was not yet quenched. “I wonder,” he said, “what’s
on the other side of that hill.”
To be sure, we’re capable of creating technological wonders that will show
us what’s over that hill. But if we’ve lost the desire and the will to
see for ourselves then we’ve lost so much more.


 
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