I am, of course, following the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission tonight. It’s fifty years ago that the explosion occurred while they were about half way to the moon, turning what had started to become a “routine” flight to the moon (c’mon, really??!!) into the world’s most “successful failure.”
All of the Apollo missions can be re-lived at apolloinrealtime.org – it’s an astonishing project. For this mission, go to apolloinrealtime.org/13 and click on the “sync to today’s clock” clock icon in the middle left – you’ll follow along in real time with pictures, video, all of the ground to space audio, all of the audio from dozens of ground controllers as they tried to troubleshoot the problems. Or you can use one of the slider bars on top to go to any particular point in the mission and follow along.
It was a major catastrophe that hit pretty much out of nowhere. In seconds they went from bored to dozens of life and death decisions per minute. One mistake and the crew would be lost and our space program would have gone in a much different direction.
I’m amazed by the teamwork shown in listening to the “background” loops as the different systems engineers worked together to make sure that they could shut down the damaged Command Module and do an emergency power up of the Lunar Module to use it as a “lifeboat” to get the crew home. It’s amazing, a thing of joy.
And that got me thinking about the crisis we find ourselves in.
It might not have sprung out of nowhere to hit us in seconds – we had months to see the problem start, grow, spread, and finally reach us. But more importantly, our situation doesn’t involve three lives – it could easily end up with 300,000 lives just in this country, and in a worst case scenario where the virus spreads unchecked through places like India and Africa, it could easily cost 3,000,000 lives worldwide in the next year.
And listening to that 1970 NASA team spring into action and troubleshoot that situation and solve one problem after another, step by step, truly highlights the deplorable response to our current crisis. As if the normal, daily, background incompetence and buffoonery wasn’t bad enough, today we got the Mango Mussolini totally melting down at his daily press conference and apparently declaring himself to be a god? Supreme grand high poobah? Chief cook and bottle washer?
Oh, right, “megalomaniac dictator” is the term I was looking for. He’s not even trying to hide it any more.
Good thing that the GOP “leadership” is going to step up and use their clearly defined powers under the Constitution to act as a brake on his lunacy…
So, when we talk about how great we are as Americans, how we “put a man on the moon,” how we’re the folks that can solve any problem, beat any enemy – tonight we get to see how that might have once been true, at least a little bit, but it was fifty years ago.
Today? We can’t even get rid of this two-bit, tin pot dictator who’s killing hundreds of thousands of us, enriching himself and his cronies, lying through his teeth with every breath, and betraying our country to our allies.
If we want to actually solve any of the problems dragging us down to be a third-rate, backwater country maybe we could start with removing that particular cancer so we can start again being like Gene Kranz and his crew.