The Endeavour space shuttle fly-over the bay last Friday was super exciting. Not man on the moon exciting, but still pretty impressive. It was a relic of ancient times piggybacking on a plane. And by ancient times, we mean 20 years ago. Seeing the colossus made us think: when will we see the Endeavour of our generation?
Endeavour was the last space shuttle built by NASA. It is from a bygone era of government dedication to space exploration and science. The space program was the epitome of blatantly inefficient spending, and yet, it was one of the greatest uses of money. It captured the imaginations of millions and inspired innovation in laboratories across the globe. It led to the creation of new polymers and telecommunications devices. It took away some of the mystery of the big blue sky. But most importantly, it led kindergartners to draw spaceships with crayons and made them dream of becoming astronauts.
Now we have the opportunity to take to the heavens again. Mars is our frontier. When the space program was closed — back in 2011 — the Investor’s Business Daily poll showed that 56% of Americans opposed the ending of the manned space exploration program. So of course, the lovely people in charge closed the program.
It’s our job, as students, decision makers and voters, to press our representatives to prioritize on space. In August, we saw just how exciting it can be to explore new worlds. The Curiosity rover brought unfamiliar land into sharp focus, and demonstrated what science can achieve. We need to use our current space program to its full potential, and bring back manned flights to the United States.
Maybe, in 50 years, Cal students will watch a shuttle fly over campus. A shuttle built by today’s students.
Image source: Kamin Kahrizi, The Daily Californian and The U.S. Army under Creative Commons
Tags:Curiosity, Endeavour, Investor's Business Daily, NASA, space, space mission
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