Space Shuttle Discovery
Who saw this yesterday!?
That’s the Space Shuttle Discovery making its last flight over DC before landing at the Dulles Airport. It circled the city three glorious times as workers, tourists, and lovers of science flocked to roof tops and fields to get view of this rare sight.
The Discovery has made 39 trips to space in 27 years and was finally being decommissioned last year. The shuttle was moved to DC to be placed on permanent display in the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly.
The Discovery is one of three remaining space shuttles that are soon to be decommissioned, this has me thinking about the many cutbacks being made to the space program. Nearly 20% of NASA’s space program funding is being cut. These cut backs to the space program are seen by some as a significant loss to the development and advancement of science. According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, the host of NOVA scienceNOW, the era of generous federal funding to space programs is over. The political mindsets have changed, and people no longer view the exploration of space as important.
However, Tyson argues that space exploration is exactly what the economy needs, because “the people who bring tomorrow into today are the scientists and technologists.” He believes there should be a shift in the mindsets to spark a true renaissance in space science – one that could revitalize both the U.S. economy and the national spirit.
What do you think? Do you think that during a time of economic recession the U.S. should put money into space exploration? Do you think that it can have a positive enough effect on the economy to really make it all worth it?