I was watching Discovery Channel when I saw it: Orion. I froze in time, nearly dropping the remote. On the screen before me was a vision from a boyhood lived long ago – a capsule-shaped command module perched atop a towering rocket, the Ares 1. Termed the Constellation Project, the combined majesty of Orion and Ares are worthy successors at last to the late, great Apollo Saturn V rockets of the 1960s and 70s.
Intrigued, I delved deeper into the subject. NASA has not returned to the classic rocket and capsule design for mere kitsch value. No sir – this project is informed by what the white coats term “heritage research.” This retro-themed space race update is time-tested, proven under the harshest conditions (outer space) and well-documented on video and raw data.
The ‘back to the future’ capsule design is not only cost-efficient, but is also attention-stealing. Much like the return of the VW Bug, the Ford T-Bird and the Mustang, seeing the classic rocket design evokes long-lost memories of excitement, hope, and optimism for the future. It’s almost like the last thirty years of subservient Shuttle delivery service have been erased, and Mankind can pick up where we left off…not unlike when KISS put their make-up back on and toured behind material recorded between 1974-1979, completely eradicating the 1980s and 90s “Lick it Up” and “Hot in the Shade” period where they admittedly lost their way.
Yes, kiddies, it’s back to the moon, and then Mars! Sure, it’s expensive, but at least we’ll be blowing up stuff to achieve escape velocity, as opposed to some silly land dispute over fossil fuel sovereignty. Now would be a good time to start buying up real estate on the Moon. The Sea of Tranquility always had a nice ring to it. And now would be a great time to reintroduce Tang, Space Food Sticks and Moonboots to the future astronauts of Tomorrow.
Space is cool again. Who would have guessed?