American Opinion: On the moon blast
An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:
By The Associated Press
On the moon blast:
NASA scientists say they had a valid reason for hurling two spacecraft into the moon. We wonder, though, if they just felt like blowing something up.
The experiment allegedly was designed to create a cloud of lunar dust that scientists could analyze for water content. To accomplish this, NASA officials planned to slam a 2.2-ton empty rocket stage into the moon at twice the speed of a bullet, equal to the power of 1.5 tons of TNT.
"Cool," said millions of Americans in unison, envisioning a giant explosion they could watch from their backyards.
The whiz kids at NASA managed to hit the moon with the two empty rockets (they had missed on eight previous attempts) and the resulting dust plumes pleased the scientists. But the audience of civilians were not impressed.
For those expecting a dazzling explosion, the experiment was a dud. The impact caused little more than a fuzzy white flash.
The mission was executed for "a scientific purpose, not to put on a fireworks display for the public," said one NASA official.
Well, hey, the public is paying for this show, and we want a big explosion, maybe some flames and a giant cloud of moon dust spewing from the lunar surface. Try a bigger rocket next time.
If not, we may start to question why we are spending millions of dollars to crash stuff on the surface of a moon astronauts already have visited in person numerous times. Some might even call it loony.
-- The Herald, Rock Hill, S.C.