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Space Shuttle Discovery

April 18, 2012 3 comments

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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Can anyone be a scientist?

April 16, 2012 3 comments

My baby brother, Braeden, is a genius…literally, he’s been certified and everything (whatever that means).

When talking to Braeden about his passion, science, I am transformed into a world of limitless possibilities, most of which are beyond my comprehension. His theories surpass my intellect, to the point where I am able to follow but contribute nothing. That is fine with me, because I simply love learning from his imagination and gaining excitement from his momentum of thought.

Recently we have been talking about things he can do for the Science Fair. His current idea is to transform plastic back into oil. Now, he is aware that this is already being done, so its nothing new, but he is trying to come up with a more economical method, one where you can easily and cheaply transform the plastic in your very home. Watching him work,  testing new creations, modifying the old, gets me thinking about how all science is working on whims. But these whims only become success when passion is applied. As much as any person can appreciate science, it’s those who breathe science that truly transform it. What do you think? Am I wrong in thinking that science is driven by aspiration more than knowledge?

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Wonders and Destruction of Science

April 9, 2012 3 comments

The wonders and destruction of science, an idea that has been coursing through my mind.

After spending a week living by the visiting hours of the hospital, I quickly, if not undoubtedly, appreciated modern technology. Merlin himself could not have imagined the “magical” forms of medicine that we have today. The ability to save lifes, heal wounds and create better futures is far easier than it has ever been, and it is all thanks to science.

Science, the father of modern day miracles.

And yet…

Once that week was over, and I returned to my life of normalcy. Before adjustment could even begin, I was diving into a paper on the tensions between Iran and the U.S. Tensions that have been exemplified over nuclear bombs, the Frankenstein of science. And it was while writing this paper that I began thinking about the irony that is science. Could we have the life changing medical advancements, with out the life destruction of nuclear bombs and other weaponry advancements? I personally think not. We can save more lives everyday, but we can also destroy more in a single day than ever before.

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