Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 32-

Dear Mr. President,

The news of your cuts to NASA's moon program has me oddly sad. I agree with the decision, the program sounded as though it had serious flaws and your budget increases NASA funding as a whole. Still, the child in me who always wanted to see outer space is a little sad that a moon colony won't be happening any time in the near future.

I'm thinking back to middle school, debating with a friend over the morality of funding space exploration, at all. She asserted that, so long as there were earthly needs to be tended to- hunger, literacy, health care, medical research- spending billions to travel through space was near-criminal. I may have conceded the logic of this argument, but my sentimental side would insist that people need inspiration, as well. That we learn about our world through direct observation, and always need a new frontier to explore.

Has my thinking matured much since then? It's difficult to say. But in this day and age, when the number of unemployed, the number of uninsured, the number of uneducated are overwhelming, it is difficult to argue for the perpetuation of a project with few quantifiable benefits. I hope that, if the economy improves, we'll find money again to return to the moon. I don't know if a society's strength indicates the quality of its artistic and scientific achievement, or if it is the opposite, or some of both, but it would be a shame to win the space race only to spend the future observing the heavens from afar.

Respectfully yours,


1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine, a pilot, considers the Apollo program to be one of the greatest achievements in human history.

    It is pretty impressive. We went to the moon, 8 years after Kennedy called for us to do it, using 1960s technology...and heavier-than-air flight was only 66 years old at the time.

    This seems appropriate:

    On a more serious note, I think certain scientific endeavors, like art, may appear to be frivolous pursuits (to some), but their influence on human thinking is invaluable.

    I don't think that's the case today, though. Most of our Astronomers can think of better things to do with the money that would be sent on manned moon missions (although, to quote one professor, "If NASA is going to the moon anyway, we'll go along for the ride.").