Americans justifiably take great pride in the fact that we’re the only nation ever to walk on the moon. When we did that back in 1969, it wasn’t just one of the most incredible moments in our history, it was one of the most astonishing moments in human history.
Now, fast forward four decades from Neil Armstrong’s historic stroll on the moon and we’re not even capable of going to get our own flag. That’s because NASA doesn’t have a manned space program any more, which seems particularly ridiculous when Red Bull energy drinks can get up into the stratosphere.
Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner landed safely on Earth after a 24-mile jump from the stratosphere in a dramatic, daring feat that may also have marked the world’s first supersonic skydive.
Baumgartner came down in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth. He lifted his arms in victory shortly after landing, sending off loud cheers from jubilant onlookers and friends inside the mission’s control center in Roswell, N.M.
It wasn’t immediately certain whether he had broken the speed of sound during his free-fall, which was one of the goals of the mission. Organizers said the jump lasted for just over nine minutes, about half of it in free-fall.
…During the ensuing jump from more than three times the height of the average cruising altitude for jetliners, Baumgartner was expected to hit a speed of 690 mph.
…The energy drink maker Red Bull, which is sponsoring the feat, has been promoting a live Internet stream of the event from nearly 30 cameras on the capsule, the ground and a helicopter. But organizers said there will be a 20-second delay in their broadcast of footage in case of a tragic accident.
It’s actually deeply ironic that Newt Gingrich was mocked during the Republican debates for suggesting that we build a moon base. If you’d asked Americans in 1969 whether it seemed feasible for us to build a moon base by 2012, most of them would have probably wondered why it would take so long. Yet thanks to Obama, here we are in 2012, running behind where we were as a nation before VCRs, cell phones, and the World Wide Web were invented. That’s not a good omen for our nation’s future.