With the Final Space Shuttle Mission, Where Does This Leave Space Exploration?

Posted on July 8, 2011

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Today we watched the final space shuttle launch, and not without remembering the good days and the bad days of the shuttle program. For many years we have watched men and women leaves the bounds of Earth to go into territory that not all of us know and only a select few have been able to see. We are moving into a time of private space exploration, although that is not all that bad. There is a reason for pause and questions, however, when NASA is left out in the cold when it comes to competing with the world and their space programs.

Never in my life would I have believed that we would allow the Russians to stand there and be able to say they are doing more in space than America is. We will now join partnerships with other nations and their space programs to go to the space station and make sure it is kept up in working order. This is not what America is or should be about. I have heard the argument that NASA costs too much money and that is one of the first places we need to start cutting when it comes to our budget. I have told many people in the past we should be careful with what we cut, and space exploration is one of those. I know many people do not have that pride in their country anymore. Individuals my age never got to witness a man walking on the moon and to look deeper into space to see where we could go next. There is no telling what we could do on Mars if we put our mind to going there in the next 15-20 years, even though there are some who think it is worthless.

Those who do not care about the sciences will not care if we go back to the Moon or if we go to Mars, it will not matter to them at all. It is all about the money, although I wonder if they complained as much when we were working on the Apollo program in its beginnings. Yes, that also cost America a lot of money and manpower, but at the end of the day we were able to tell the world that AMERICA was the first nation to step foot on the Moon. For one night, America felt themselves walking in a new frontier. This is what Americans do! We go out looking for the new frontier and look to conquer it any way possible.

Our next vision is Mars, and if we do not send people to Mars in the next 15-20 years, it will be a disappointment for not only individuals like me but for America. We are giving up, something that Americans never do. We are walking away because the cost is too high and the lay person has no idea what we would do on Mars to make it a reason for going there. I understand that many people do not get why we would want to go to Mars or anywhere else for that matter, but it is important on so many different levels.

It is important to make sure we understand that many medical breakthroughs could come from deep space exploration, or at least leaving Earth’s orbit! We have no idea what these other planets hold in the way of medicinal breakthroughs for the human existence, yet we say that it is not worth it because it would cost too much money. Not only that, but where is our national pride? Those of you who are older know the pride that was felt when individuals saw the first man walking on the moon. We need something like that again to bring the spirits of Americans back and show them that with hard work and dedication, we can again be the powerhouse of the work.

We must not give up the fight for space, because space is the frontier that American’s look to when we look at the sky and wonder what is past what we can see. For thousands of years people have looked to the sky and wondered, and we have a duty not only for American pride and international recognition to go look into paces where we have never been, but for what we could find if we stepped foot on a planet that no one has ever stepped foot on. Those of us who look to the sky and see something that could be and imagine are those who look at today and see a day that is a very sad day indeed. We must NOT give up on looking for what is out there, because there is just far too much riding on it. We need to take the example of those who came to this nation and drove west looking for a better life and heard the rumblings that there would be riches for those who were willing to work hard for it. I do not care if a multi-billionaire or NASA in its capacity makes it to Mars by 2035, as long as we can say, “Look at that world, that is an American on Mars!”

Those of you kids out there reading this in high school or even in college…you could be the first person or one of the first colonists on Mars! Reach for the stars and work for the greater good, and never allow anyone to tell you it is not worth it!

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Posted in: Political Blogs