Going Up?

So the latest buzz is that Bush is about to announce a return to space. (Isn’t that the funniest possible photo to accompany that headline?) I was just reading a Wired article on NASA emergency escape systems, which mentions on page 2 that the Apollo spacecraft computers ran on “just 5,000 integrated circuits and … a feeble 74 KB of hard-wired memory and 4 KB of what might be called pre-RAM.”

Hey, if we got to the moon on slide rules and scotch tape (of course I exaggerate), I think we could try and shoot someone to Mars on what we have today. Except human astronauts might not bounce so well.

Over on Transterrestrial Musings (a mostly-astro weblog which I must add to my link list), Rand Simberg has some sobering thoughts.