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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?

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/DwindlingUSSpaceBudgetWorriesScientist.html

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. MTDM
    April 19, 2012 at 1:51 am

    I’m glad you posted about that, cause I was just thinking about this earlier today! I am all for space exploration, and for furthering our knowledge of the great unknown. However, we have serious economic problems right now, and I believe it would be reckless of the government to worry about putting people into space, when we should be worrying about putting people into work, and homes. Whatever positive effect space exploration may have on the world in the future, it’s going to be a long ways off whether we halt the shuttle program for a while or not. So, for the meantime, I definitely think we need to focus more on the home front, and taking care of everyone here before we worry about the rest of the universe.

  2. Ben Harrison
    April 19, 2012 at 5:24 am

    MTDM I have to disagree with you. It may seem like reckless spending, but what if we take the money and try to come up with an economical way to put people into space? If we were to take the money we spent on sucking up and burning rocket propellant, and instead pump that cash into research, we would not only be able to keep our eyes on the stars, but also keep the economy afloat. The research would keep jobs in NASA, and if someday we come up with a method to go into space without spending a ridiculous amount of money, jobs would move to creating these new spacecrafts. While I agree that we need to focus more on the home front, I think one method of doing this is by trying to get into space. Space has become and industry, and building up an industry creates jobs.

  3. April 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I agree with Ben Harrison in that space exploration is extremely important to the US and should be continued. Yes, it does mean a lot of spending, but much of our technology comes from science discoveries that have pushed the boundaries – especially when it came to the boundary of space exploration and innovation.

    One of the main reasons the space shuttle program wasn’t feasible anymore is because we were using old technology from the 1970s that was so outdated that it couldn’t support the new technology we have developed so far. For example, there is more computing power in one scientific calculator than in the space shuttle computer systems. I think that a lot could be gained from researching and creating a new program using the technology we have today and improve upon what we have done in our past.

    Also, space is still a very important part of our daily lives. Just think about how many satellites and other equipment are in orbit around Earth that allow us to use our cell phones, GPS, and satellite TV. I think that it a bad decision to cut spending when space and the Earth’s orbit has become an important sphere of influence for us.

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