Friday 31 January 2014

I Have a Sore Throat

I was just lying in bed trying to sleep this sore throat away when I started to think about the best way to launch a rocket from our planet. Of course I would think about that when I need to rest, what a tool!

It’s not as if I know anything about rocketry, gravity, space or really anything scientific at all. I have read a lot of sci-fi books and I have seen pretty much every Star Trek episode, so in that way I am an expert I suppose. Years ago, a work friend was into rocketry and I took the kids to watch his club launch a bunch of toy rockets. I’m sure all of those people in that club and any club would be offended by my referring to the rockets as toys. In my mind, if the rocket can’t at least send a monkey or a cat to a possible fiery death, then it is a toy.
I was thinking about those NASA launches that are just so damned impressive. The rocket is surrounded by the gantry with all sorts of hoses and wires attached, fog or steam is leaking off and then there is the countdown.
“We have ignition”
Clouds of billowing smoke and superheated gasses shoot out in all directions and the ship struggles against gravity, until finally it begins climbing into the sky. Faster and faster the rocket travels until it is just a white contrail in the sky. There would be nothing I would love to do more than to watch one of those launches in person.
Unfortunately, NASA has gotten out of the launching business, preferring to let their once arch rivals the Russians take over getting payloads into space. I don’t understand why NASA retired the shuttles before having some kind of replacement vehicle. I guess like a lot of the businesses in the US, NASA decided to outsource their space program. I wonder if it were a dollar and cents decision or if it became a political hot potato. Either way, if you want to get yourself or something into space, it’s the Russians, Chinese or private enterprise. Whatever works I suppose.

While I was lying in bed, I was wondering why it takes so much energy to launch a rocket. It doesn’t seem to take as much energy to launch an airplane and they get up to about seven or eight miles high relatively painlessly. The atmosphere gets thinner and thinner the higher you go, so I would imagine pushing that extra four or five miles shouldn’t be a problem for rocket scientists.

I know what you are thinking, “Ken what the fuck do you know about anything?”, and you would be right. I just thought that by this stage of my life I would be able to buy a ticket to take a vacation on the moon or Mars. I thought there would be flying cars and personal jetpacks too. I had hoped Cancer would be cured and that a simple sore throat would be a thing of the past. Well it’s not, and not only am I terribly disappointed in this life, I have a sore throat!

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