Later today President Obama will announce
his new plans for space travel
at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Initially, Obama proposed
shelving NASA's manned moon program Constellation
. He's now expected to walk that
at least one element of the
program. Will this satisfy critics? Here's a look at the lively debate
surrounding NASA's future:
- The President's Doing the Right
Thing, applauds celebrity astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a statement
Wednesday: "The President's program will help us be in this endeavor
for the long haul and will allow us to again push our boundaries to
achieve new and challenging things beyond Earth. I
believe that this is the right program at the right time, and I hope
that NASA and our dedicated space community will embrace this new
direction as much as I do." Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, has also voiced support of the plan. "The proposed program articulates a strategy for human exploration that will excite and energize the next generation," she says.
- No He Isn't, countered Neil Armstrong in an open letter (covered by the Wire here): "For The
United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a
century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human
exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate
time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or
even third rate stature. Without the skill and experience that actual
spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long
downhill slide to mediocrity. America must decide if it wishes to
remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a program
which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal."
Can't Keep Spending Like This, writes Cynthia Tucker at The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution: "The country can’t afford to pay for everything.
Some big expensive programs have to be cut, and cutting the program
aimed at putting Americans back on the moon seems reasonable."
Is Important for the Country, write U.S. Reps. Gene Green and John Culberson in the Houston Chronicle:
"Constellation is our only hope to close the current five-year gap in
U.S. access to space, and closing the gap is the key to capturing the
passion, support and enthusiasm of the next generation the same way
President Kennedy's space race captured ours. NASA's manned space
program has created a class of citizen heroes unlike any the world has
known. Only in America can children of no means grow up to be the
Columbuses and the Magellans of our time, funded not by the gold and
gems of monarchs, but by a democracy committed to the daring and
unending pursuit of knowledge."
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