And now for something completely different…
You probably know by now that Elon Musk of Space X has done more to advance the affordability of going into space in the last five years than NASA or ESA or JXA or anyone else has done in the last 25, or 30, or 35, or… like, everrr. Boeing and Lockheed Martin especially are just sucking money and listening to Frankie Avalon records. But Elon Musk is another story. With Elon, doing it, tomorrow is not soon enough. He wants it now. And, he wants it all (yeah, I heard it, too).
Here is the latest thing:
His whole plan is to reuse all parts of his launch system; 1st stage, 2nd stage, 3rd stage and capsule. He says all the parts will return, eventually, to the launch pad from whence they departed spewing smoke and flames, land under power spewing more smoke and flames, be refueled and continue to spew again and again and again. Unfortunately, physics being physics and fuel being heavy, a first-stage rocket cannot carry enough fuel to make it from the separation point somewhere over the ocean say around Atlanta’s parallel back to the Cape.
So, Elon designed this mobile landing pad, with a big spacy “X” on top, on a barge that will be located off shore under where the rocket would normally come splashing down and sink. His rocket, though, will have enough fuel left after separation from the stage above it to make a controlled decent to the barge where it will spew more flames and smoke and land where the spacy “X” marks the spot. It will then get refueled, re-launch itself, fly back to the cape and spew some more to land from where it took off originally. And, here’s the thing, there’s nobody on the barge. It’s an “autonomous spaceport drone ship” with a 300 ft by 100 ft landing pad on top. Using thrusters re-purposed from old oil rig it is capable of locating itself via GPS to within about 20 feet of exactly where it’s needed. The “brain” in the rocket will further compensate for error down to just a couple of feet. Elon will need a few of these platforms scattered around the north Atlantic to service the various stages of his launch system except the human carrying capsule itself. The “Dragon” capsule, on second thought, let’s call this the Dragon Spaceship because it is. The Dragon spaceship part of this system will, of course, after leaving the ISS, land directly back at its launch site because where Dragon lands is completely controllable by when and where it executes its “Super Draco engine” powered de-orbit burn.
To accomplish all of this Elon Musk had to think outside the very locked box that is conventional NASA thinking, i.e., ’60s tech good, big rocket, capsule, splash down, throw everything away, play Fabian record. Can you imagine the cost of an airline ticket if Delta had to junk their plane after each trip? Let’s see, $40-mil divided by 200 passengers, that’s $200,000 a ticket.
So, while Nancy and I will be headed to the Cape to broadcast the launch of the first test flight of the Orion capsule a week from tomorrow on December 4th (at, yawn, 7:05 am – so we leave here at about 2 am), I’ll be thinking to myself, “We’re here to watch them test technology that was perfected in 1969.” This will be a test of Orion’s heat shield. The unmanned capsule will go out to about 3,400 miles or so, do two laps around the planet and come screaming back in at about 20,000 miles an hour. If it burns up they’ll know the heat shield’s got a problem. But the Apollo moon capsules, including the ill-fated Apollo 13 ship, all came screaming back at 25,000+ miles an hour and they all made it safely. So, what’s to test? We still need an entire Navy flotilla to pluck one little spaceship with a couple of people in it out of the water. How is that cool? Or, cost-effective? Or, even cost efficient? Elon’s idea is, like, way seriously betterrr. Come back to where you took off, open the door, climb down the ladder, go home. The second time that reusable rocket is used it will cost half as much to use as the first time they used it. The third time, half as much again. The fourth time…now were saving some serious money. And, the thing is, all of this could have been done years ago. But nobody climbed out of that damned box.
There is one dilemma that will more than likely forever haunt mankind. Should abortion be legal or illegal?
I recently made some former classmates angry at me when I raised two simple questions; do we want to again force women to use filthy back-alley coat-hanger abortionists and do we want to sentence 12 year old rape victims who are medically unable to carry a baby to term to death by birth? My goodness, you would have though I’d justified nuking London to keep the Euro low. Nevertheless, I believe they are important questions that must be answered before even contemplating making abortion illegal.
So, I am seriously trying to get some sort of understanding of why the abortion issue is so at the forefront of human emotion and why, all of a sudden, after thousands of years of silence “the Church” (herein referring to all Christian denominations and groups) is suddenly pressing the hot button on the abortion issue.
The Bible, in spite of numerous opportunities, makes no mention of abortion other than if a man accidentally causes another man’s wife to spontaneously miscarry he must pay the husband money.
The Bible does mention “the breath of life,” indicating that life begins at first breath but nowhere does it say that life begins at conception. And, for the Christians who really “get it,” there is a reason abortion isn’t discussed. It doesn’t need to be. God doesn’t make the body, nature, set in motion at creation 13.75 billion years ago, does. God makes the soul. The soul is imparted to the body’s mentality at birth. The human Spirit is awarded at salvation (i.e., if you believe at a moment in time too small to be divided, you will be saved forever). Without the human Spirit, babies are invisible to God. They are saved by Grace before attaining the age of God consciousness by acceptance afterward.
When Jesus died on the cross, an earthquake reportedly ran from the base of the cross across town and under the Temple (scientists believe than an earthquake did in fact take that path sometime within a hundred years or so of Christ’s death) ripping the incredibly large curtain dividing parts of the Temple in half. According to the disciples, this represented the end of the Jewish age and the beginning of the Church age. At that moment, Jewish law was rendered invalid. During this same transitional period, it was determined that at the moment one believes in or “accepts” Christ, they receive a human spirit. This addition then means they have mentality, a soul and a spirit. At that moment, they are no longer invisible to God the Father and are “acceptable” to Christ and eligible for entrance into heaven and this eligibility can never be lost or taken away for any reason by anyone not even Christ himself. Eternal security; “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand.”
But, at the moment of birth, a human is (a) invisible to God the Father, (b) not alive until it takes its first breath, (3) saved by Grace of the Holy Spirit until the age of God consciousness, (4) eligible to be saved by acceptance of Christ, or, (5) eligible to burn in hell for all eternity if he/she doesn’t accept Christ.
I also wonder about the Church’s deep concern about fetuses but little concern for the tens of thousands of women who will go back to filthy back-alley coat hanger abortionists should Roe v Wade be overturned. Back in the 50s many times both the mother AND the baby died.
When does one life take precedence over another? Is an unborn baby’s life more important than its mother? And, who can decide that? Even God is silent on the issue.
It is my contention that the Bible is silent on abortion (when it could have been very vocal) because, since the Bible has taught us about life, where life comes from, how God is involved with it, etc., it intentionally has left the abortion decision to the women of the world to make for themselves. It’s the only possible explanation for the Bible’s absence of remarks on the subject. It’s much like the Constitution when it says, “…any power not given to the Federal government is reserved for the states.” The Bible makes no mention of abortion so the power to make that decision is reserved for women. If abortion is murder, wouldn’t the Bible say so? By taking away a woman’s right to choose, we are not only then relegating women to second-class citizenry, we are insulting God and his intentions for mankind. God is no “respecter of death,” meaning if a body is destroyed by abortion, He can create it again at will in a nano-second. It’s the soul that’s important, not the body or the gene pool it comes from. I would think the “Church” would know that. Have they lost their collective way?
Perhaps, humans think that they are in some way “helping” God or “doing His work by saving babies and that will surly earn them a seat in heaven. But, works don’t get anyone into heaven, do they…only faith. If God can be silent on abortion, why on earth can’t man?
Perhaps if we had just the faith of a mustard seed we would say, “This is not a problem because God didn’t even mention it and, if it is a problem, He’ll handle it,” and go on with our lives.