Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than

Zen Pencils

Comments (15) (Please sign in to comment)

  1. AlnicoV

    AlnicoV said, about 3 years ago

    His research in liquid fueled rockets was taken seriously. Regrettably not in the US until after 1945 when the technology was captured in Germany.

  2. Richard

    Richard GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago

    What I think is sad now is there are kids who will never feel that power those Saturn rockets had. I saw four launches in person back in my youth. Ringside seats so to say. I was in the special spectators viewing area. My dad had a friend who worked for NASA. When that rocket powered up…..and went skywards……even when you could not see it you could still hear it.

  3. MeGoNow

    MeGoNow said, about 3 years ago

    In 1920, the New York Times in a typical fit of editorial ignorance, wrote:

    “That Professor Goddard, with his “chair” in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action and reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react—to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools."

    They didn’t correct it until 1969, when NASA perversely launched Apollo 11 to the moon landing.

    It’s too bad he’s buried at Worcester, Massachusetts and not actually within sight of the Cape launch site.

  4. LittleCatFeet

    LittleCatFeet said, about 3 years ago

    Some would call that a wasted life. That is anything but!
    I had never heard of this man until today, but already I commend him for ignoring the slings and arrows, even if his dream never completely took off.

  5. Daniel Kelly

    Daniel Kelly said, about 3 years ago

    The concept of “Impossible” is ever more difficult to define.

  6. hippogriff

    hippogriff said, about 3 years ago

    MeGoNow: His one contribution to the US in WW-II was JATO, a solid-fuel rocket to assist heavily loaded aircraft to take off of short runways. His contributions to rocket science were effectively perverted by von Braun to the development of the ICBM, rather than space exploration.

    A rocket does have something to “push against” in space or atmosphere – the spot opposite the exhaust where, unlike the rest of the combustion chamber, there is nothing to push back.

  7. emptc12

    emptc12 said, about 3 years ago

    There is nothing both less and more satisfying than an outcast’s ultimate historical vindication. For a good explanation of Robert Goddard’s career, watch the “Cosmos” episode, “Blues for a Red Planet.” Or, even better in Sagan’s BROCA’S BRAIN, “Via Cherry Tree, To Mars.”

  8. Ushindi

    Ushindi GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago

    As a child, I read everything I could find about Robert Goddard and rockets. As a man, I was fortunate enough to be firing large liquid-fuel rockets from the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides (Scotland).
    Veteran is right; you can hear them and feel them for a long time (talk about “surround sound”). Simply amazing.

  9. hippogriff

    hippogriff said, about 3 years ago

    Night-Gaunt49: von Braun was interested in survival. If he had his druthers, he probably would have rather worked on space vehicles. At least it would have been less likely to have Bomber Command visit “the facilities” at the same time he was there. It is also why he made sure he was captured by the US forces instead of USSR, it gave him a well-paying job instead of more of the restricted luxury he had under the Nazis.

  10. Dogday88

    Dogday88 GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago


    You can visit The Goddard Space Flight Center, a major NASA space research laboratory, established on May 1, 1959 as NASA’s first space flight center. It’s in Greenbelt, MD. Gone, but far from forgotten.

  11. Richard

    Richard GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago


    Those are the ones who my dad worked with when he worked for the National Highway and Traffic Safety Admin. That is how I got up close and personal with the 4 launches I attended. Several of our neighbors worked there. They would fly down there several days ahead to attend the launch. I got to go along. Seen the crawler up close even got to touch the fin on one as it sat on the pad. Got the grand tour.
    You do know those were built in the days before the computers. Done using math and slide rules. Paper, pencils, chalk and chalk boards.

  12. Dogday88

    Dogday88 GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago


    It tickles me that you pointed out the good old slide-rule days. Hard to comprehend these days what was accomplished with the computer-between-the-ears. My older brother was an EE who did a lot of work with gov’t agencies. He was appropriately gadget-y, but his slide-rule was never far off (brain, crunches, y’know.)

  13. Darwinskeeper

    Darwinskeeper said, about 3 years ago


    NASA was using computers during the Apollo program. They weren’t as nice as they are now, all punch cards and tape drive storage, but they were useful tools in the endeavor. In fact, one of the original structure analysis tools was NASTRAN. The name in reference to “NASA Structural Analysis”. That said, even with today’s wonderful computers, you’ll never get anywhere without using your brain.

  14. Ushindi

    Ushindi GoComics PRO Member said, about 3 years ago


    BTW, I should have mentioned that this wasn’t amateur rocketry – these were large USA military nuclear missiles (dummy warheads, of course) fired from the British military Atlantic ocean missile firing base out into the North Atlantic.

  15. SuperDavid

    SuperDavid said, about 3 years ago

    I looked this guy up

  16. Refresh Comments.