a Christmas Fable

a Christmas Fable
An anecdote set in a Christmas theme.

The Towers that Stood

The Towers that Stood
An original Shakespearian-styled sonnet.

The Realm of Space

The Realm of Space
An essay on NASA and their space shuttles.

Newton's Apple

Newton's Apple
A metaphorical quote about an apple tree.

The Realm of Space

The Realm of Space

"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." These were the words that rang in the hearts and minds of Americans throughout the country in 1969. From that point on, NASA has continued to make numerous advancements in aerospace, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Mars Pathfinder mission. These missions and projects have brought space exploration and our knowledge of the universe to a new dimension. However, even the best projects eventually run out of gas. This year, NASA plans to start the discontinuation their space shuttle.

In the years between the discontinuation of the space shuttles and 2014, the U.S. will be forced to catch a ride with the Russians. Boarding tickets aren't cheap; the U.S. will be paying tens of millions for each astronaut that climbs aboard. The Obama Administration may not even consider sending astronauts into orbit this year, as our country faces multi-trillion dollar deficits.

            Many people are amazed at the incredible progress China has made in aerospace given the small period of time. Their Tiangong program is expected to launch three Chinese space stations into orbit between 2011 and 2015. The Chinese are even expected to accomplish a lunar landing by 2017 (Tkacik).

America's engineers in aerospace are far from young; the median age of NASA's manned space engineers is now over 55. More than a quarter is over the retirement age. In contrast, China's average lunar probe engineer is only 33 years old! America's once flourishing nation of aerospace is little more than a dwindling federal program, funded by a growing federal deficit. America's flexibility as a space-faring nation will be severely limited in the years to come, while China's space program will continue to reach for the sky.

            The years between the discontinuation of the space shuttle and 2014 are not as bad as they may seem. Shortly after 2014, NASA will begin to launch its new generation of rockets. These rockets are part of the Constellation Program, designed to help put the United States back on the moon and possibly onto Mars (NASA.gov). However, the United States only planes to get back onto the moon around 2020, three years after the Chinese.

Part of NASA's Constellation program includes the Ares rocket and the Orion capsule. Both of these key parts will play an important role in improving the United States' presence on the moon. The Ares rockets are designed specifically to deliver large payloads of food, supplies, and cargo into orbit. Even so, many of the advancements require major funding by the government, something hard to come by right after a recession.

In essence, the discontinuation of the space shuttles will mean the end of our dominance as a space faring country. No longer will the noble words of Neil Armstrong, and the knowledge of space that we once held, be an inspiration for Americans; the era of space flight will be gone - faded and blurred like an antiquated black-and white photograph. This can all change when America finds a new goal, a new inspiration, and a new challenge to unite together and overcome. America's future - our future, depends on this, and a new era of space flight may provide the answer.

Works Cited

"Apollo program -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia. Web. 07 Jan. 2010. .

"NASA - Ares Launch Vehicles." NASA - Home. NASA. Web. 07 Jan. 2010. .

"NASA - Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle." NASA - Home. Web. 11 Dec. 2009. .

"NASA - Steering the Ares Rockets on a Straight Path." NASA - Home. NASA. Web. 07 Jan. 2010. .

"Piggy-backing Into Space - Political World Online.com." News Forum - Political World Online.com. Web. 07 Jan. 2010. .

"Soyuz (rocket) -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia. Web. 07 Jan. 2010.

Steven Moore Christmas Fable

I realize that Christmas has long been past. However, this Christmas fable that I wrote still seems appropriate considering this time of year. This short anecdote is the first in my Steven Moore Series that I will gradually release over the course of this new year. Enjoy, and leave a comment!

It was December 23 – the eve of Christmas Eve. The wind whistled as Steven Moore slowly trudged though the thick layer of snow that had built up over the past month. He muttered to himself as the wind blew another sheet of snow into his face, and dug his hands deeper into his ragged coat. As the sun slowly set, he abruptly stopped, and took out a small slip of paper.

"159102," he said in a low voice. "These are my lucky numbers."

Two Christmases had already passed since he lost most of his money in the Royal Daemon Casino. Since then, he had been living on the streets, earning barely enough money each week to both feed himself and buy a lottery ticket from the local convenience store. Every Friday, he would walk three miles just to see if he had somehow won; this week was no different.

As Steven neared the end of his trek to the lottery outpost, he felt a sudden weariness that he hadn't felt before. His legs began to buckle under him, and his hands felt as numb as ice. He barely managed to steady his weary body against a nearby lamppost as he slowly sank to his knees. "Almost there," he murmured, "just a little bit farther." A voluminous gust of snow blotted out his figure.

When he finally stopped, he had arrived at his destination. He looked up into the eerie gray clouds, as if saying a silent prayer, and stepped inside the brightly lit building.

"Lottery ticket number?" asked the woman behind the counter in a monotone voice.

            "159102," he uttered expectantly.

The woman behind the counter looked down at her computer, blinked and said incredulously, "May I have your ticket, sir? I believe that you may have won!" The woman scanned his ticket once, twice, three times, and then exclaimed, "There's no mistake! You have won 1.5 million dollars!" She tapped a key on her computer and asked, "Name?"
"Steven Moore," he replied.


                        "46," he answered.

"Current residence?"

He paused, and slowly said, "I'm homeless."

The woman glanced up from her computer, her eyebrows furrowed questioningly and asked, "I'm sorry, did I hear you correctly? You said that you are homeless?"

                        "Yes, that is correct. I am homeless," he replied.

She frowned and said, "I'm extremely sorry, sir, but to qualify for this week's prize, you need to be living in a residential establishment."

            "No, please! Can't you make an exception for me?" Steven desperately shouted.

"There's nothing I can do. I'm sorry," the woman replied sympathetically.

The wind whistled as Steven Moore once again trudged though the thick layer of winter snow.

The Towers that Stood

This is one of my first attempts at a Shakespearian-styled sonnet. Don't forget to leave a comment!

The Towers that Stood
 Written by Steven Haslek 

Many long nights to civil-peace we fought,
Far from home in a desert sand slumber,
Towers of glory, hath crumbled to naught,
War to redress an infamous number.

Thousands now no longer present today,
Our interest wanes, their fam'lies doth cry,
Support the brave fighters, cut-down each day,
On eagle's wings they to the clouds up high.

At odds issuing to the Pres'dent ere,
Obama, be fain and withdraw thy bail,
For they hath naught could find sins of man there.
The price we must judge, or we may yet fail.

For freedom we stand, and justice we need;
Terror we fight, 'till our very last deed.

Newton's Apple

"The tree must be shaken for an apple to drop" — Steven Haslek [2010]

This quote is based off of the classic tale of Newton, gravity, and the apple that hits his head. In essence, this quote means that in order to achieve a goal, you must take an active part in obtaining it yourself. Goals won't come to you; you must go to them.

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