By Jerry Adler
"This is definitely a paradigm shift in the way the country will go about its space program."—George Washington University Professor John Logsdon, on canceling plans for a new NASA mission to the moon.
All paradigms are born to shift
Like clouds that form and merge and drift
Like surpluses that go ka-pffft
Or giant Saturn rockets
Whose million pounds of lift and thrust
Left behind all Earthly dust
Then fell into the sea to rust
As empty as our pockets.
Back then we reached out to the stars
Like prisoners breaking through the bars
Of gravity, to claim what’s ours:
The universe to roam
When we were called we answered “yep”
But now it seems that one small step
For man may be too big a schlep
We’d just as soon stay home.
Remember how we all went gaga
At that epic lunar saga
If we were all as rich as Aga
Khan, could we relive it?
The universe, say those who follow
Astronomy, is mostly hollow.
A vacuum that can quickly swallow
Every buck we give it.
Although we set off with a bang
We didn’t get sufficient Tang
For the buck. The bell that rang--
It rang for you at NASA.
And so tomorrow’s lunar jocks
Tripping over lunar rocks
May come from Beijing, shock of shocks,
Or Delhi or Kinshasa.