[FPSPACE] Gallup Poll: Public Divided Over Money Spent on Space Shuttle Program
Spellman James Civ 60 MDG/PA
James.Spellman at travis.af.mil
Fri Jun 30 14:46:07 EDT 2006
Public Divided Over Money Spent on Space Shuttle Program
Gallup Poll News - Washington, DC, USA
... a majority endorses the spending on a space program is ... United
States increased spending on sending astronauts to the ... rating, at
the time when NASA "lost" the ...
For details, go to:
See also the following Letter to the Editor at the Orlando Sentinel:
OTHER VIEWS MY WORD
NASA debate about priorities not risks
Posted June 30, 2006
Letter writer Warren T. Wilson and cartoonist Dana Summers are missing
the real issue in the debate about space exploration. It isn't the risk
involved; it is the cost vs. the questionable benefit to mankind in the
context of the very real and present problems right here on Mother
Wilson and Summers seem to forget that the early explorers, such as
Columbus and Eriksson, were exploring habitable places. They took risks
to discover land with fresh water teeming with fish, forests full of
game for food, and fertile plains for growing crops and raising cattle.
Our astronauts take risks to explore lifeless space and poisonous
Taking risks is the brave and noble explorer's choice. What upsets me
are the billion-dollar soil samples from places that cannot sustain a
single living thing.
Weather and information satellites are a great benefit, and we all love
our Post-it notes and Velcro. Beyond that, and a few other things that
may or may not have ever been developed without the space program, do
the benefits justify the billions of dollars spent on NASA? Meanwhile,
we are still dependent on oil for fuel, and pollution, disease,
ignorance and starvation are a scourge on the planet. Until we get this
place in better shape, it is hard to get excited about growing very
expensive spinach in zero-gravity.
Without traveling light-years outside of our solar system, there is
nothing within our reach but dead planets and the Sun. Yes, I enjoyed
Star Trek and that kind of travel will never be possible without taking
baby steps. It is also generations away, and it is absurd to spend
billions on it right now when the only home we have is in trouble. There
was once water on Mars? I am more concerned about the water crisis in
the state of Florida. Colonizing the moon? It is difficult enough to
rebuild New Orleans. Wouldn't it be easier to try to colonize the desert
that at least has oxygen?
I realize space travel is an awesome thrill, national morale booster and
rare opportunity for international cooperation. We have spent billions
on worse, but that is another topic. I hate to be a killjoy, but can we
afford such expensive joyrides when the only place we know has life
needs our devoted attention? With our track record, any life out there
is probably not eager to see us anyway.
Glenn Mitchell lives in Orlando.
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