Science and Religion: Escape From The Center of (Robert) Sungenis

geocentrism_350pxw

Geocentrism: adding epicycles.

     TLDR ADVISORY: This article exceeds 1,000 words, and may be lengthy for some readers, including Mr. Robert Sungenis and anyone who missed the memo about the sun being the reason they call this the “solar” system.

     I’d like to tell you a story, my fine, young readers. It’s a story that’s over two thousand years in the making, and one that needs to be told. You see, we as a race are nearing a fork in the road of our development, between enlightenment and ignorance. This fork in the road means that those of us who honestly care where we are going, need to be diligent enough to tell these stories repeatedly, so that others don’t forget all that we’ve learned. I tell you this story, because I love each and every one of you. But, I digress…

Claudius Ptolemy: 90 - 168 AD.

Claudius Ptolemy: 90 – 168 AD.

     In the last years of the third century BC, Greek mathematician Appolonius of Perga posited a geometric model that would explain the movements of the planets as they tracked across the sky. Observed from the Earth, planets such as Mars seemed to move in one direction for a while, then stop, move backwards a bit, then return to their original direction of motion. What Appolonius proposed, was that these objects moved in what came to be known as “epicycles” as they tracked across the night sky. Appolonius’s epicycles were subsequently expanded upon and adopted by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD, and became part of the Ptolemaic system of astronomy. (Ptolemy’s model was even turned into an ancient analog computer of sorts, in what is now known as the “Antikythera Mechanism.”) The Ptolemaic system would hold sway as scientific dogma for the next fifteen hundred years.

Nicholaus Copernicus: 1473 - 1543

Nicolaus Copernicus: 1473 – 1543

     Flash forward, to the year 1542. A man lies dying from apoplexy and paralysis. His name, is Nicolaus Copernicus. For the past few decades, Copernicus had been working on the problem of the Ptolemaic model, trying to answer various questions about its inability to make more accurate predictions of the motions of the planets. At the same time, the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation were spreading throughout Europe, challenging the long-held authority of the Roman Catholic church over what exactly the “truths of existence” were.

     Copernicus wasn’t an idiot. He knew that his observations and conclusions about how the heavenly bodies moved across the sky, would contradict church dogma. So, he waited until just before his death in 1543 to publish his observations in a book, “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.” (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”) In this daring treatise, Copernicus posited that the sun, not the Earth, was at the center of the planetary system, and that the planets orbited the sun in circular paths.

Tycho Brahe: 1546 - 1601

Tycho Brahe: 1546 – 1601

     Three years later, another pioneer in the field of astronomy was born. Tycho Brahe was a headstrong young man, who even lost part of the bridge of his nose in a sword duel (in the dark!) with a fellow Danish nobleman, over a mathematical formula. Tycho was serious. Even more so, he was all about accuracy. Because of this, Tycho began to make meticulous measurements of the planets’ motions, using a device called a “quadrant.”

Johannes Kepler: 1571 - 1630

Johannes Kepler: 1571 – 1630

     By 1600, Brahe had compiled a massive amount of data. It was at this time, that 29-year-old Johannes Kepler met Brahe near Prague, at Benatky nad Jizerou, and became his assistant. Brahe didn’t entirely trust Kepler with his data. For that matter, he didn’t trust anyone with it, and guarded his data closely. He did, however, set his young protege a task; reckon out the motion of the planet Mars. (“Here, kid. Take these measurements and figure it out.”) Kepler already had his own view of the world around him, and since he wasn’t a Catholic, wasn’t as worried about crossing the “powers-that-be” as Copernicus had been.

     Tycho Brahe died in 1601. Immediately following Brahe’s demise, Kepler purloined his vast collection of observational data, and eventually published his conclusions in the “Astronomia nova” (“New Astronomy”) in 1609. “Astronomia nova” made compelling arguments for heliocentrism, and built on the Copernican model of planetary orbits, positing that instead of circular paths, the planets followed elliptical orbits around the sun.

Galileo Galilei: 1564 - 1642

Galileo Galilei: 1564 – 1642

     In the same year that Kepler published “Astronomia nova”, a 45-year-old Italian mathematician and astronomer, by the name of Galileo Galilei, built a device modeled after the “Dutch spyglass.” This device, which could magnify distant objects to about 3x, was the first practical telescope. Galileo turned his telescope skyward…and Galileo saw. Galileo sketched. Galileo discovered.

     He discovered that Saturn had rings. He discovered that Jupiter had moons of its own. He noted that Venus went through phases, much like the moon. Galileo published his findings in “Sidereus Nuncius” (“Starry Messenger”) in 1610, and in “Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo” (“Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”) in 1632. It was the latter book, which directly challenged established church dogmas, that would result in Galileo being tried for heresy by the Inquisition, and placed under house arrest until his death in 1642. The damage, however, had been done. The great man, Galileo Galilei, had dealt the death blow to the Ptolemaic system of geocentrism…or so it seemed.

Sir Issac Newton: 1642 - 1727

Sir Issac Newton: 1642 – 1727

     In the centuries after Galileo turned his telescope to the sky, science has made advances that Galileo would have found astounding. Issac Newton refined Galileo’s work, developing a new system of mathematics (Calculus) to explain the motions of the planets, as well as the reasons why they move the way that they do. His “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica” (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”) was a virtual watershed in the fields of mathematics, physics and astronomy.

     During the 1800’s, the sky was indeed the “greatest show on Earth.” Before the age of motion pictures, radio and television, people found entertainment and wonder in simply gazing up at the sky, identifying the stars and constellations, and acknowledging their place within the wider realm of existence…but then, that all changed.

     It is the year 2014. A recent poll by the National Science Foundation finds that 1 in 4 people in America don’t know that the sun is at the center of the solar system. America ranks 25th in science and math scoring of high-school students worldwide. (China, Finland and South Korea rank in the top three.) This spring, mail-order Ph.D. documentary producer and Holocaust denier, Robert Sungenis, is releasing a film based upon his book, “Galileo Was Wrong The Church Was Right”, titled “The Principle.” Sungenis is an adherent of the Ptolemaic model of geocentrism; the same model that was proven to be wrong almost 500 years ago.

     I can only hope that someone reads this story, and understands. I ache with the desire for someone to digest these words, and to be imbued with a child-like curiosity about science and the sky. Oh, God. If I had the money, I would gladly buy each and every one of you, my fine young readers, a brand new Celestron telescope, so that we could gaze together on the wonders of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, the rings around Saturn and other “awesomesauce” out there in the night sky, if for no other reason than to honor Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo and others for their hard work and sacrifices. Sacrifice, they did, all in the name of making our world a better and smarter place to be.

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The Chaser: Of Asteroids And Dinosaurs – More Musings on Young-Earth Creationism

"Brian, you said Chixulub was a great vaca...dude, if we live through this, I am SO unfriending you on Facebook!"

“Brian, you said Chixulub was a great vaca…dude, if we live through this, I am SO unfriending you on Facebook!”

     Every now and again, I find myself revisiting that ages-old question: why are we here? How did we get here? How long did it take? Now, I have a pretty good idea, and a lot of the time I find my own beliefs and hunches about these things, bringing me into direct conflict with established, organised religion. I guess that’s why I haven’t found a church where I can fit in, because those topics always come up, and I get the usual, “Oh, you’re letting Satan confuse your mind,” or some such codswallop.

     There are more than a few areas where religion, specifically young-Earth creationism, falls short in explaining the existence of things, but I’d like to focus on just a few here…

Asteroids. Why?

     Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, lies the main asteroid belt. It’s strewn with the debris of failed planets, “planetesimals” and even a few dwarf planets. Even farther out, beyond the orbit of Neptune, lies the Kuiper Belt, where the “trans-Neptunian objects” make their home. Even farther than that, about 1ly out, astronomers have hypothesised the existence of the Oort Cloud, home to what are known as the “long-period” comets. In other words, there’s a lot of debris flying around out there in space. Why? Did God get the solar system, six-thousand years ago, as a kit, with “some assembly required,” and after putting it all together, find that he, like all other guys who put project kits together, had some extra left-over parts? I don’t buy it.

     If God created the entire universe, planets and all, fully-mature as the YECs insist, then why did he leave all of these rocks lying about? These are the proverbial “Lego pieces on the carpet in a dark room,” but in the case of asteroids and comets, they come flying at us. Sure, comets are great to look at through a telescope, but meteors aren’t so great, especially when they impact our planet in places like Tunguska and Chelyabinsk. (1)

     Comets, asteroids and meteors don’t serve any real, stabilising purpose within the solar system, as near as the brightest minds in the fields of Cosmology and Astronomy can tell. No, actually they’ve caused at least one ELE (extinction-level event) that we know of, and may have played a part in at least one other, the Permian-Triassic extinction, which by the way, brings me to my second musing…

Dinosaurs. Where’s my Velociraptor?

     No proponent of young-Earth creationism has come up with a solid, convincing argument that can explain the conundrum of dinosaurs. No, YECs such as Eric Hovind and Answers in Genesis have tried to sell us on the idea that before the “great flood,” man walked the Earth alongside carnivores like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor. Then, the story gets a little fuzzy, depending on the YEC that you ask for answers. Some will tell you that God allowed the dinos to die in the flood, which then creates a conflict with Genesis 6:19, where God commands Noah;

“And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.”

     Now supposedly, Noah was a righteous and obedient man, the only one of those left on the whole planet, which was why God chose him to save man and animal-kind. So, if Noah was obedient, and he did what God told him to do, and dinosaurs were walking the Earth alongside of Noah and his fam-bam, then where’s my Velociraptor? I’d like to have one as a pet, let it run around the back yard. So help me though, I can’t seem to find one of those nifty raptor eggs down at my local PetSmart.

     No, this conundrum, combined with the pseudo-quasi scientific misconceptions that Hovind et al. have about how rocks form, makes for some cringe-worthy reading. According to these guys, the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary either doesn’t exist at all, or is something other than what it actually is. Luckily for Christendom, theirs isn’t the mainstream view. Even Pat Robertson, that verbally inept “700 Club” stalwart, has admitted that young-Earth creationism is alack in its explanation of the “dino dilemma.” (2)

     I haven’t given up hope though, that there’s a convincing explanation for all of this out there, one that would solidify the young-Earth argument. So, I guess I’ll keep asking the questions, in search of the truth of the matter, and annoying the hell out of those poor young-Earth creationists!

Space and Science: Alone, Are We

In the absence of new material, I thought I’d try reblogging a few articles…

The Cybersattva

     TLDR ADVISORY:This article exceeds 1,000 words, and may be lengthy for some readers.

     Ah, the title. The title, the title the title. See, whenever I compose one of these pieces, I endeavor to come up with a catchy title, in the hopes of snaring those few extra readers by virtue of the title’s interesting nature. In this case, I drew upon the downwards, backside-up-speak of the venerable Yoda. Depending upon both the order of these three small words and the placement of punctuation marks, the title can become a question…or a statement. As to how these three words should read, that all depends on who you ask.

     There seem to be not one, not two, but three major schools of thought on the subject of whether we are alone in the universe. The fundamental, religious types will tell you that, since God created the heavens and…

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Space and Science: Alone, Are We

"BILLIONS, upon BILLIONS..."(Carl Sagan)

“BILLIONS, upon BILLIONS…”
(Carl Sagan)

     TLDR ADVISORY: This article exceeds 1,000 words, and may be lengthy for some readers.

     Ah, the title. The title, the title the title. See, whenever I compose one of these pieces, I endeavor to come up with a catchy title, in the hopes of snaring those few extra readers by virtue of the title’s interesting nature. In this case, I drew upon the downwards, backside-up-speak of the venerable Yoda. Depending upon both the order of these three small words and the placement of punctuation marks, the title can become a question…or a statement. As to how these three words should read, that all depends on who you ask.

     There seem to be not one, not two, but three major schools of thought on the subject of whether we are alone in the universe. The fundamental, religious types will tell you that, since God created the heavens and the Earth, and created us in His image to be upon the Earth, then surely we are at the center of his creation and must be alone in the universe. (I shudder whenever I get this response, because one would think that this school of thought would, and should have died out at the same time that Copernicus’s heliocentric model of the solar system was proven as being correct. In point of fact, we’re not even at the center of anything universe-wise! In our own Milky Way galaxy, we actually reside about halfway out, on one of it’s spiral arms. If we were in the galactic center, we’d be devoured by the super-massive black hole that’s there. (1))

     The hopeful romantics out there, a group which includes various conspiracy theorists, MUFON, some that are involved with SETI and others who “believe”, will reply that it is a foregone conclusion; we are not alone, and the truth is out there! The third school of thought, held by those with a pragmatic bent on scientific observation, will tell you that the possibility, while being rather remote, cannot be entirely dismissed due to the myriad of unknown variables in the universe. It is along these lines that I want to proceed and discuss with you, my fine young readers, a few of the variables that the scientific community considers when contemplating this ages-old question.

     First of all, let’s look at what we know about our own home, this “third rock” from the sun (maybe I should have also titled this article “Things You Might Not Have Known”);

  •      We’re in what’s referred to as the “habitable”, or “Goldilocks” zone, a comfortable distance from our star where things like liquid water can form, given the right atmospheric pressure and conditions. (2)
  •      Speaking of atmospheric pressure, we have an atmosphere comprised of mostly Nitrogen, Oxygen and Argon, with other trace gasses thrown in for good measure. Because of the mass of our home planet, a comfortable 5.97219 × 1024 kilograms, there’s an equally comfortable 101.325 kPa (kiloPascals) of air pressure exerted. If our planet had considerably less mass, things would be a lot different!
  •      Our planet has a hot, two-stage core comprised of iron and nickel, which rotates. This “geodynamo” provides our planet with its geomagnetic field, which protects us from otherwise harmful solar radiation. This geomagnetic field also prevents our atmosphere from being stripped away by solar winds, which is a good thing for us. (We like to breathe, don’t we? Most of us are pretty good at it!) It is thought that this is what happened to the Martian atmosphere long ago, as geological processes like plate tectonics and core spin ground to a halt. (3)
  •      Our planet is part of a system of planets which orbit a single star, a relatively small G-type main-sequence star known as a “yellow dwarf”. While most other stars in the observable galaxy are part of binary and ternary star systems, our yellow dwarf seems to be in the small minority of systems with only a single star. (4)
  •      Our blue marble spins on an axis, at about a 23° tilt, which gives us our seasons. We spin around once every 24 hours, which gives us our days and ensures that most of the planet is equally bathed in life-giving sunlight. (The polar regions get far more or far less sunlight at certain times of the year, also due to the axial tilt, and the manner in which we orbit the sun.)

     In other words, the conditions here are like Baby Bear’s porridge; just right. Any closer to the sun, and we would bake. Any farther, and we would freeze. If our core stopped spinning, then our magnetosphere would collapse, and that nice, breathable atmosphere would be whisked away by the solar winds. If our planet did not spin, then half of the planet would always be hot, the other half, always cold. This would change only gradually, over the 365-day period of orbit around the sun.  There are several conditions that have to be just right, for life to not only develop, but to thrive.

     Here’s another thing to consider; when we talk about “life on other planets”, people’s minds always jump to the idea of “little green men”, “the greys” and other concepts of sentient, developed lifeforms. What about the smallest forms of life, microbial life? What about plant life? There could very well be life on other planets, just not the kind of life that people are expecting!

     Now ask yourself; what is the likelihood of there being an extra-solar system somewhere out there, with a single sun, with a planet in its habitable zone possessing a two-stage metallic core, which spins on an axis and has the right mass, and an atmosphere at just the right pressure, that liquid water can exist with some modicum of stability? Out of all of the exoplanets discovered so far by the Kepler mission, how many of them meet these criteria?

     It’s easy to dismiss or to take for granted, the several things that make our home a home. At the end of the day however, they all still figure in to the equation. Given all of this, coupled with the vast distances between the stars, is the idea of “contact” a likelihood? Are we alone / alone are we / alone we are  / we are alone…?

Faith and Religion: Dragging The Line

Pulling the unpullable...

Pulling the unpullable…

“I feel fine, I’m talkin’ bout
peace of mind, I’m gonna
take my time, I’m gettin’ the good sign…
Draggin’ the line.”
(Tommy James, “Draggin’ The Line”, c1971 Roulette Records)

     This song first appeared on Tommy James’s sophomore album, entitled “Christian of The World”. The irony of this is that I’ve employed it within the context of an article that, with some characteristic pragmatism and nimble wording, will attempt to shed light on the chasm that lies between science and religion. Yes, my fine young readers, I’m “going there” yet again…

     One aspect of religion that continues to puzzle me, is the dogged adherence of some of the more literalistic, conservative denominations to the concept of “Young-Earth Creationism”, especially in the face of proven science. For the uninitiated among you, please allow me to explain; young-Earth creationism dictates that everything in existence…us, the earth, the sun and moon, indeed the entire universe, is only about 6k to 7k years old. Several theologians in Judeo-Christianity have performed calculations on the ages of the patriarchs, the earliest of which included Jose ben Halafta in 160 A.D., within the “Seder Olam Rabbah”. Several centuries later, Church of Ireland Archbishop James Ussher published a timeline, dating the moment of creation to the night preceding Sunday, October 23rd, 4004 BC. Even such well-known early astronomers and scientific observers, such as Johannes Kepler and the venerable Sir Issac Newton, the father of gravity himself…were young-Earth creationists!

     Young-Earth creationism should have met its demise in 1922-1923, when Edwin Hubble, looking through the newly-installed 2.5 meter Hooker Telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory in southern California, observed that there were in fact a plethora of other galaxies out in space, and that they were moving away from us. Hubble knew this, because of something called “Redshift”, which is a visual expression of what’s called the Doppler Effect.

     For those who are unfamiliar with this term, I can provide a simple example which is very easy to reproduce on your own. Have you ever stood on a street corner, and listened as a police car or ambulance passed by with its siren running? Did you notice how the pitch of the sound seemed to rise as the vehicle got closer, then fall as it sped away from your location? That’s the Doppler effect. As distance increases between yourself and the sound source, the length of the sound wave increases and the pitch decreases. The same goes for observable light. As the distance between our point of observation and the light source increases, so does the length of the light wave, which causes it to shift into the red end of the spectrum.

     We have also known for quite some time, that the speed of light through a vacuum is roughly 186,000 miles per second. (Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the speed is 299,792,458 meters per second.) We know this because we’ve quantified it scientifically, we’ve measured it time and again in the laboratory. Couple this with being able to observe distant stars and galaxies, and one should, if they’re paying attention and believing what they’re seeing, reach the conclusion that this little (ah, but ever expanding!) universe we live in must be far older than a mere six thousand years!

     So, we have to ask ourselves this question; why do some Christians doggedly adhere to the concept of young-Earth creationism, aside from the fact that their Bibles tell them that that’s the way it is? Why do they maintain their stranglehold on such a literal interpretation of scripture? Is it because they fear what they don’t or can’t understand? Try explaining things like the Doppler effect or the speed of light in a vacuum to a young-Earth creationist within the context of this argument, and the reaction one gets is akin to the “three monkeys” scenario. They’d rather remain willfully ignorant of scientific fact, than to endanger their long-held (albeit misguided) belief in a six thousand-year-old universe.

     I think I should clarify something at this point, before we go any farther. I’m not trying to attack religion or faith overall. What I am trying to do is to illuminate whoever might be reading this piece, with regards to just one of several areas where science and faith diverge, and to do my humble part to kill off an outdated dogma. That being said…

“The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”
(Galileo Galilei, quoting Cardinal Cesare Baronio, circa 1598.)

     The Bible also says to “fear” God, which is fine and dandy. I would suggest however, that for people of faith to live in unnecessary fear of something that can be known and understood, and otherwise only adds to the grandeur and intrigue of existence, is folly. It’s giving one’s self over to that most basal of human instincts; to fear what we do not or cannot know or understand. If one follows this line of logic, then one arrives at a conflict where the young-Earth creationist is intimating that it’s fine to give one’s self over to that basal instinct, but then turn around and preach against giving over to other basal desires and instincts, such as the desire for physical pleasure. In short, it’s hypocrisy…not only is it hypocrisy, but also intellectual laziness. (If I’m not mistaken, laziness, also known as “sloth”, (“Acedia” in the Latin) is one of the “Seven Deadly Sins”!)

     In closing, I would strongly suggest that the person of faith who honestly wants to grow in both a spiritual and intellectual way, avoid looking at matters of science through the prism of religious stained glass. Instead, try verifying and accepting these facts, and then take them back to the scriptures, and seeing those scriptures in a new way. In the meantime, the stars in the sky will continue to race away at breakneck speeds, and there’s nothing that the young-Earth creationist can do to reign them back in…that line can no longer be dragged, especially when illuminated by the light of knowledge.

Space and Spaceflight: Houston Has A Problem

Apollo 13 lifts off on April 11th, 1970.

     April 14th, 1970: The Apollo 13 spacecraft, named the “Odyssey” had run into a catastrophic series of issues. The number two oxygen tank had ruptured, and the spacecraft was venting. The crew, consisting of astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Command Module pilot John Swigert made hurried preparations to move into the Lunar Excursion Module, using it as a lifeboat. During this process, Lovell was making the necessary calculations for transfer of computer control from the CM to the LEM. The math was complicated; one small mistake, and the crew would tumble off into the vastness of space. Lovell wrote down the calculations in his mission checklist notebook, and then entered the results into the LEM computer… Three days later, the crew returned safely to earth, having transited the far side of the moon on a free-return trajectory.

     Flash forward, forty years later. Having been allowed by NASA to keep his notebook decades earlier, Jim Lovell recently found it while going through his desk. Realising that it has some historical value, he offered it up for auction. Heritage Auctions, a company that deals in space memorabilia, sold the notebook for a whopping 388,375 dollars. NASA however, is now questioning the sale, asserting that the ring-bound checklist is their property, that Lovell does not have the right to sell it and that only NASA can approve the sale of these types of items. Jim Lovell, accompanied by other Apollo-era astronauts, has held meetings with NASA officials on the matter as a result.(1) (2)

     In the early days of the American space program, it was common for NASA to allow astronauts to keep memorabilia from their missions, such as notebooks. These things were of little value back then, since most, if not all of the flight data was recorded by Houston by means of telemetry during the missions. Also, former director Chris Kraft had previously approved a policy that allowed astronauts to retain personal items, along with anything that would have otherwise been abandoned on the moon during the Apollo missions.

Mission Control celebrates splashdown in the South Pacific, April 17th, 1970.

    I have long been a fan of America’s space program. I remember the last flights of Apollo and the first flight of the Space Shuttle, how we wept in 1986 when we lost Challenger, and again in 2003 when Columbia never made it home. I know the names of almost every Mercury and Apollo program astronaut, and which missions they flew. From Alan “Jose Jimenez” Shepard’s first sub-orbital flight in 1961, to last year’s final shuttle mission…these were the golden years of our space program. Every single one of those brave men and women have done a large part in keeping the dreams and spirit of America very much alive!

     Now, volunteering to get strapped to the top of a rocket and hurled into space by a controlled explosion, is not a very safe thing to do. My guess is that you’d have to be either extremely brave, quite insane or a bit of both to take a job like that. Yet that’s what these people did, mission after mission. Honestly, I can’t believe that NASA is now engaged in something that in my youth, we used to call “Indian-giving,” especially over something as trivial as a notebook! It’s not like we’re talking about selling state secrets, or some multi-thousand-dollar piece of equipment. It’s a seventy page, ring-bound collection of documents, with Jim Lovell’s own handwriting inside. In my opinion, NASA has a very strange idea where ownership is concerned. If something was given to the astronauts, then it should be theirs to do with as they please.

     Jim Lovell, Freddo Haise and John Swigert spent one harrowing week in the emptiness of space, not knowing for sure if they would ever set foot on terra firma again. Yesterday’s NASA gave Lovell the notebook, but today’s NASA is going back on that, and stating that it belongs to the taxpayers. If that is indeed the case, then this taxpayer says let him keep the notebook, sell it, do whatever he wants with it. By God, he earned it four decades ago, right along with the gratitude of this nation for his bravery and grace under immense pressure.

LTC Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom

“If we die, we want people to accept it. We’re in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.”
(Mercury / Gemini / Apollo astronaut Virgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom, 1926 – 1967.)