Telstar - Mariner 2 - Age End - Herbert Hoover

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 10
We are living in the most exciting and stirring days of man's history on earth. Developments and achievements of men crowd the scene in such rapid succession that people have come to expect the unusual. They see no reason to doubt that man can do almost anything he sets his mind to do.
One of the most recent startling events was the lofting of a 341/4-inch elaborate and intricate sphere from the earth into a predetermined orbit above it. It was conceived and developed by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and is a triumph of communications for the whole world. It was named Telstar. This small satellite is indeed a masterpiece of human ingenuity. It can receive sounds and pictures from a sending station on earth and then magnify them 10 billion times and send them to a receiving station at another location. It can also handle 600 telephone conversations simultaneously.
Telstar is really an orbiting space relay station which enables the users to surmount the impossibility of bending the waves and impulses around the earth's circumference. The waves are beamed to Telstar out in space which then relays them back to another part of the earth beyond the horizon. It contains 15,000 components, and the power required to operate its instruments is derived from the sun by means of solar batteries. The giant sending and receiving station antenna at Andover, Maine, weighs 380 tons.
It is indeed a marvel that man who is born into the world to live a comparatively short span of life here, and then depart, should be able to plan and execute these feats of technology. It would seem that the God who created him and gave him the capacity to invent such intricate devices should have some recognition for His giving man these capabilities. In 1844 when the telegraph was developed, its inventor, Mr. Samuel F. B. Morse, commented by the first clacking of the telegraph, "What hath God wrought." Regarding Telstar, one current magazine paraphrased that: "What hath the American Telephone Company wrought."
It is now estimated that with from 30 to 50 such satellites in orbit, or perhaps with many fewer larger ones in a wider orbit, the whole world can be linked together for live television. It would also enormously increase the telephone, telegraph, data, and facsimile transmission of intercontinental communications. It is estimated that 100 million persons on each side of the Atlantic saw the initial performances.
In the same week with the launching of Telstar, the United States exploded a 1-megaton nuclear bomb about 260 miles above the earth. It was the first bomb to be exploded in the fringes of outer space. Time magazine called it "the most dazzling—and awesome—display of man's power yet seen." July 20, 1962. Pictures taken on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, at 11 p.m., as the bomb exploded, showed up the whole area as at noonday. The light was seen for about 6000 miles from the small Johnston Island where it was blasted aloft.
Then the Russians sent two cosmonauts whirling about the earth and back again safely. But this feat is becoming more commonplace as both the United States and Russia vie for preeminence in the spectacular.
On Monday, August 27, the United States blasted off the firing pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Mariner 2 space ship (weight, 447 pounds) on a 180,000,000-mile trip which is supposed to take it by the planet Venus on December 14 of this year. As of the date of this writing (August 30) the space ship is calculated at 250,000 miles off its course which was planned to take it within 10,000 miles of Venus.
The scientists who built Mariner 2 allowed for a certain amount of deviation from its planned course and built equipment into it to make a correction in flight. It receives orders from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and has carried them out. By these means its speed was increased, solar panels extended to gather the power to operate its equipment, and has altered its course so that it is now calculated to pass approximately 9000 miles from the sunny side of Venus. During its thirty minute pass of the planet, its sensitive radiometer and infrared sensor are supposed to gather information regarding the
planet's surface temperature, how much heat escapes through the cloud cover, whether or not there is water there, measure its magnetic fields, and gather other scientific information, and radio the data back to earth.
Earth and Venus were about 60,000,000 miles apart in August and are due to be approximately only 35,000,000 miles apart in December. But the long voyage of Mariner 2 was necessary because of the long circular trajectory required to make the Mariner pass at the right time. Surely the ingenuity of man to calculate the distance of Venus and its predetermined course is marvelous, but what about the One who put Venus there? What about the wisdom of Him for whom and by whom all things were created? Mariner 2 is supposed to go into orbit about the sun after its mission to Venus is accomplished.
Some of our readers may ask why we should enumerate these late accomplishments of men. Our reason is that we may all keep a clear perspective of what is going on, where the present age is tending, and what the Christian's attitude should be toward man and his great progress.
Let us consider our first-named development—a worldwide satellite communication system that will make current events in one part of the world household attractions in all other parts of it instantly. Some will consider this a shrinking of the world, but the prime thought that comes before us is that this presages the coming day of trouble for the whole world (Rev. 3:1010Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10); Matt. 24:2121For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)). God speaks of a day that is coming as one wherein a time of trouble will try them that dwell on the earth. But before such a time arrives, a man will come who will head up the Western civilization as a potent force of might and terror. He will have at his command the awful lethal weapons of destruction wherewith to make the earth a shambles. He will also lift up his voice to blaspheme God and them that dwell in heaven. He will be in league with a false Messiah in Jerusalem, who will perform lying miracles wherewith to deceive the populace. He will strut across the fleeting earth scene demonstrating his powers, and so great will be the sight that it will then be true that "all the world wondered after the beast" (Rev. 13:3-83And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:3‑8)).
A prerequisite of this world-wide demonstration that will astound the world is world-wide television. People will have to see the beast and hear him to be so impressed that all the world will admire him. He will be extolled as the man they had been looking for for a long time—a man with looks "more stout than his fellows," and a mouth speaking "very great things." We have been expecting the advent of world-wide television as a part of the great deception that is coming. Satan is called the prince and the power of the air; and is not Telstar a precursor of the great apostasy? Not that we say that man may not find other uses for it, and yet make it a profitable economic venture. But will it not fill an important part of the prophetic picture?
Fellow-Christians, the great development of men's ideas and inventions does not in the least alter our opinion of the subtle and hideous dangers of television for Christian homes. It will not occupy the adults with Christ and His things, nor help to bring up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It will rob Christians of the little time left in today's hustle and bustle that could be used in reading the Word of God and meditation thereon. Furthermore, it will defile the minds and souls of saints with the corruptions of the world that is hurrying on to certain doom. Television is fast helping to lower the moral standards which have already fallen very low. It is teaching crime, violence, and immorality. It is indeed a moral and spiritual danger to any Christian to have television in his home. But this does not hinder our having a proper perspective of man's accomplishments and whither they tend.
The eerie flash above Johnston Island is but another reminder that man has at his disposal the weapons of his own destruction. In all probability mankind has in his arsenals more power of destruction than all he has ever used—from the invention of gunpowder, the World War I manufacture of TNT, and the block busters of World War II combined. It is a forlorn hope that man will destroy the weapons and not use them to wreak vengeance on his enemies. He has never yet developed the power to destroy life, and not eventually used it. A few excerpts from a speech by former President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, on his 88th birthday, may be in order:
"Uppermost in the minds and prayers of the plain people everywhere was that war should cease and that peace would come to the world.... During my long years, I have participated in many world negotiations, which we hoped would promote peace. Today we have no peace.
"From all this experience and now as the shadows gather around me, I may be permitted to make an observation....
"Leaders of mankind have for centuries sought some form of organization which would assure lasting peace. The last of many efforts is the United Nations....
"I supported the League of Nations.... I urged the Senate to join the World Court. I urged the ratification of the United Nations by the Senate....
"Now we must realize that the United Nations has failed to give us even a remote hope of lasting peace. Instead, it adds to the dangers of wars which now surround us....
"Today, the menace of Communism has become worldwide.
"The time is here when, if the free nations are to survive, they must have a new and stronger worldwide organization....
"Some organized Council of Free Nations is the remaining hope for peace in the world." U. S. News and World Report, Aug. 20, 1962.
These are the sober words of a sober man of ripened experience—"Today we have no peace." No world-wide organization and no balance-of-power pact has yet succeeded in securing peace. Truly the words of Rom. 3, "The way of peace have they not known," are true. Mr. Hoover's hope is in some future Council of Free Nations, but it is nowhere in the offing. The "Prince of Peace" once came to reconcile the world unto the God they hated, but they cast Him out; and it is only the long-suffering and forbearance of God that has not visited this guilty world for what they did to His Son. But judgment has been decreed, and the Judge has been appointed. The moment of its dreadful execution approaches. It has always been God's way to withhold judgment until man's daring and presumption have reached their peak.
Our third aforementioned development is one that only increases man's pride and aids and abets his increasing atheism and moral decay. If he were able to bring back a piece of the planet Venus, or a sample of its atmosphere, it would not bring him any closer to God; it would only increase his boastfulness which is already very evident. Every venture man makes beyond the earth where God placed him, only increases his ego and independence.
May we keep a clear perspective of the great works of men, and where they ultimately lead! None of these advancements charm us, but we look for the Lord Jesus Christ to take us home to Himself in His Father's house, according to His faithful promise. But woe to this poor world when the Lord calls His heavenly people home!