The Norman Transcript

Opinion

October 24, 2012

Man’s sky jump from space

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

From a capsule suspended in space on Oct. 14, some 24 miles above Roswell, N.M., Felix Baumgartner climbed out in a spacesuit, teetered on a specially built platform for a few seconds, then jumped.

Within 40 seconds, Baumgartner broke the sound barrier reaching speeds up to 830 mph, then minutes later landed safely on earth where — falling to his knees — he lifted his arms in jubilation. Later, he would humbly say to this experience, “Sometimes you have to go really high to see how small you are.”

This then is a fitting conclusion to seven years of hard tedious work with record-breaking results.

What seemed pale by comparison to Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon, Alan Shepard’s or Yuri Gagarin’s first venture into space, Chuck Yaeger breaking the sound barrier (ironically the same date this record was set), to NASA landing Curiosity on Mars, still Baumgartner’s jump enthralled, captivated millions and was inspiring. In fact, for me personally, it caused a few tears to well up. Why?

First and foremost, there is something to be said of Americanism. We are a nation built around that entrepreneurial spirit, a can-do attitude that nothing or no one will limit our dreams, an adventurous spirit where dreams are realized and experienced, where American individual exceptionalism propels us to greater heights and glory. My tears come from seeing this inspiration becoming a lost art in the present Obama administration’s climate of socialism and liberal ideology.

NASA chief Charlie Bolden, holding true to Obama’s philosophical thinking, said, “I have no desire to do a Mars landing on our own. The U.S. cannot always be the leader, but we can be the inspirational leader through international cooperation.”

Where does this kind of kooky thinking leave us? What is inspiration without leading? You know the answer, but let me answer with this: We recently witnessed the final Shuttle retirement in California, and now we (America) have to rely on the Russians or, worse, eventually China to get us to the International Space Station. This is inexcusable, and such a mindset is robbing our coming generations of real American inspiration. NASA needs a mission, and so does our country.

Bruce Kessler

Norman

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