A Tragedy of Astronomical Proportions

Essay by mistiharrisonUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2011

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A Tragedy of Astronomical Proportions


America could experience a severe man-made disaster in the near future. It isn't a nuclear reactor melt-down, nor is it another recession. Rather, it's the threat of dropping NASA's future project, Space Station Freedom, from our budget. Some near-sighted activists are pushing President Clinton and members of Congress into carrying out this ill-fated act.

"It's unthinkable that this nation, based on our history, science and technology for the past thirty years, would turn its back on manned space efforts," says NASA's previous director, Admiral Richard Truly (Cramer 11). NASA has done a great deal for this country, much of which has gone without reward. Science technology has grown by leaps and bounds because of the space program. And the space station will only ensure NASA's future contributions to America.

There are some 30,000 spinoffs from space technology research. A few common ones are: ultrasound, firefighter suit material, microwave ovens, water purifiers, bending eyeglass frames, robotic arms…etc.

(Haggerty 58-134). These advancements wouldn't have been possible if John F. Kennedy had not challenged America in 1961 to reach the Moon by the turn of the decade. Just as Kennedy built up momentum for a trip to the Moon, the Space Station Freedom is the stepping stone for sending astronauts to Mars (Brody 35). And to grant NASA money and support to build it would be healthy (economically and scientifically) for America.

A task force organized to study the importance of setting a goal of reaching Mars urges America to consider the whole picture: " the lessons of history show that the opening of new frontiers and the tackling of new challenges routinely stimulates extensive commercial activity and benefits throughout all the America industry" (Task Force" 263). Aside from the vast amount...