« Licenses? We don' need no stinkin' licenses! | Main | The Pickering appointment »

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Moon, Mars & beyond

Quick — name a king and queen of Spain from any era!

And when did they reign?  Pick at least one year when you know they were on the throne.

Ferdinand & Isabella, right?

Why are they the only pair of Spanish monarchs who jumped to mind?  They did lots of other things while they ruled Spain, some admirable and some definitely not.  For instance, they unified their kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, captured Granada from the Muslims, drove the Jews from Spain, sponsored and promoted the Spanish Inquisition, refined and expanded the mechanisms of Spanish government, began the long struggle with France for the control of Italy, and laid the foundations for what became for some time the most powerful empire in Europe.  But what are they commonly known for?  How are they remembered in history?

"In Fourteen-ninty-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue ...." 

They sponsored the voyage that resulted in the discovery of the Americas by Europe — "the New World."

Five hundred years from now, John F. Kennedy will be remembered not for his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis or his role in involving the US in Vietnam, but for setting the goal of putting men — American men — on the moon.

My reaction to President Bush's new vision for the American space program?

Yes, please!  More, please!  Faster, continuously — show that you mean it, and fund it adequately.  It is our destiny to do this — not just America's destiny, but mankind's.

I was born the month after Sputnik; I am almost exactly as old as the Space Age.  I dearly hope that I won't outlive it.

Posted by Beldar at 07:28 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Moon, Mars & beyond and sent a trackback ping are listed here: