October marks the 60th Anniversary of the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, popularly known as simply NASA.
NASA was created during the Cold War with the intent to beat the Soviet Union in the race to control space. The Soviets made it up to space first, and had a few impressive accomplishments, but ultimately the USA won culminating with the planting of the US flag on the Moon.
Our first astronauts, the Mercury 7, were celebrities. They were armed forces pilots who were at the top of their games. Tom Wolfe famously called their persona “The Right Stuff.” And they were so much more than just all-American Joes at the top of their industry; they were, as Wolfe put it, “single-combat warriors,” tasked with fighting the nuclear powered Soviets while keeping the Cold War cold of nuclear engagement.
One of their great accomplishments is the satellite Voyager 2, which has left our galaxy. It is flying through parts of space we know nothing about, areas no human could reach right now. The gold record it is carrying has songs on it by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Chuck Berry. How cool is that?
Sure, NASA spends a lot of money. But some government spending is worth it. I would much rather have an American flag on the Moon than a Virgin Atlantic flag.
Cheers to NASA for all the incredible accomplishments they have achieved. Here is a short video from NASA on their birthday.