It is indeed encouraging that NASA (who else in this matter?) has found some, albeit very insignificant success in its endeavor to explore and 'conquer' this baffling but captivating planet: Mars.
While it is acknowledged that NASA has done much more than others in the business of planetary and interplanetary travels, searches, probes of the depths of the imaginary space and the constellation of its stars, much remains to be desired. The efforts to explore the heavens shouldn't remain just those of NASA's alone.
We all should be interested in the galactic endeavor spearheaded by NASA, and contribute our ideas whatever way we can to conquering the unknown vast space that baffled man since we began to look skywards with unabated wonder. We sometimes wonder why the black-hole has a gravitational pull so great that nothing, not even light, can escape it.
We also wonder how come the positioning or movements of the stars can cast spells over humans on earth?
We may have set foot on the moon but have we learned enough about that star? As far as this writer is concerned, we know next to nothing about this earth's closest neighbor.
I believe we shouldn't go there just to plant the American flag (or to outdo the Russian at seemingly their own games) but to know more about this star in order to know more about other stars, and to use it as a springboard for exploration and, hopefully, and reaching to even farther stars.
At this juncture, our (NASA's) efforts or interests related to the moon have waned.
We don't know much about this illuminating star yet we have already hopped on to Mars.
In my view, and this does not imply that it is the only one that makes sense, we should thoroughly and totally conquer the moon where can build stations, if not homes, which can and do visit regularly, or whenever we want, with ease.
At things stand, sorry to be blunt, but even NASA cannot assure, let alone ensure, me that if I wish to travel to the moon and am willing to pay any amount it takes, that it can grant me me my wish.
In other words, Neil Armstrong's setting foot on the moon surface was not an ordinary, sure-thing event, but rather a hit-and-miss accomplishment, fraught with danger.
This is not to belittle Armstrong and his co-moon conquerors, but the fact remains that NASA cannot send(new)astronauts to the moon as, or whenever, they please. And so far, as far as the moon is concerned, they just touched the surface, as they say. They are not in the position to colonize it even if they wanted to. We are nowhere nearer to controlling that planet than when we started, even after the July 20, 1969 landing.
As the moon as the prize, and it is open to all and sundry to try his luck, is it not curious that so far nobody or country steps forward to claim it?
What are we waiting for? With this lackluster attitude there is the danger the Chinese, who may lack technological advancement on par with the Americans, for the time being, may beat us to the game (colonize the moon)and then -- who knows? -- if we want to be interested in moon again, it may be too late; the Chinese may have already established a garrison to keep out newcomers(like they did recently in the South China islands claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and, of course, China). If we want to go there we will do so only with their permission!
What a shame then for the nation, the first and the only nation, that sent men to the moon. Don't scoff at my predicted scenarios; it is unlikely but it can happen. Never underestimate the Middle Kingdom people. We don't know what they are up to now; like we didn't know what they were up to when they took Tibet by force and claimed it had always been Chinese territory (and got away with it); when they overtook Japan as the second richest nation on earth after America; and then it sent a ballistic missile to pulverize a satellite -- its own (thanks goodness) -- to prove that it has the capacity to retaliate against its enemies if attacked.
But in actual fact the Chinese still have a long way to go to catch up; but still it's a matter of time only.
Yes, there is no doubt about it, America is way, way ahead of any rivals on earth. There is no way the Chinese can overtake America in this field --this field alone -- unless we let them. But that is what we seem to be doing.
Although they were deliberately not allowed to send astronauts to the existing international space station, and prevented from partaking of the expertise and experience gained so far, the Chinese are undaunted in their own endeavor to conquer space and beyond. So far their plans to send men to the moon are on track.
Their zeal and consistence amply make up for somewhat lack of technological expertise or experience. The day will come when the Chinese will proudly announce - just like Neil Armstrong did in 1969 - "The (Chinese) dragon has landed!"
My point is this: The United States of America - as far as space travel or exploration - is second to none. We should endeavor to keep it that way.
Here is my suggestion. Just take a look into the skies. What do you see? Millions after millions of stars or spots, right?
These stars may look small, but they are not. Some planets in other planet systems - and there are countless of them and complete with their own suns and moons - are many times the size of our planet earth.
Have you ever wondered how these galaxies of stars and planets float and 'navigate' their ways in seemingly crowded space? Why they never crash into each other or collide and burn down in a giant ball of fire? I mentioned systems, didn't I? That is right, planetary or interplanetary systems ensure all stars or planets operate or move within their boundaries. Of course the galaxies or Milky Ways are so vast that the nearest distance between two planets may be millions of miles.
Besides taking a new, hopefully more enthusiastic, look at the moon, I suggest we begin immediately to research and design state-of-the-art - and I mean nothing less - spaceships that can tap into its own energy or surrounding energy sources to be able to travel and keep traveling endlessly; so that it can pay a visit to any stars or planets ground controller desire in the quest to find a planet or planets that can support life form - to colonize.
That is not all. It may be imperative that we also design or manufacture food, state-of-art foods if you will, that can sustain our astronauts infinitely.
Both of my suggestions are not far-fetched; they are doable. In fact, we may have already succeeded in the science of harnessing energy from artificial sources, to a certain extend. Our ability to film images and relay them back to earth millions of miles away was due to artificial energy.
In conclusion, I would like to say this: If there was any country that could do all these it had to be America.