"I still believe, as I always have, in space exploration. But given the immensity of space, would we be better served by more Voyagers, an army of them launched with specific missions? Or will we continue to believe that space can be a hospitable place for humankind and that we must continue to send astronauts out there?
I would be more of a mind to continue manned space flights and send a team to Mars, except for one thing. After two and a half years of safety checks and billions expended, the Discovery “mission” has turned into a mission to find out if Discovery can get home safely. The success of the flight will be judged by whether we get seven astronauts home without them being killed."
Wait until he/or you, dear readers, hear from what most people in my generation say, but first a few glaring Facts. NASA reduced by 80% the falling debris from Shuttle launches with this mission. They also showed the relative ease in performing repairs on the outside of the craft. The Shuttle is operating because Congress has failed to provide the full funding requests of NASA for a new spacecraft, and we have a delivery system that was supposed to have been phased-out so newer technologies could be used -- imagine getting an extra half-million miles on the life of your truck. Is that failure?? So yes, the launches and returns of a transport system operating far beyond the time anyone thought possible is a notable feat. Not a moment for despair. Also to be noted are the bold non-NASA spacecraft developers -- they are reaching for the stars.
I guess Frank watches NASCAR for wrecks, boxing matches in hopes of death -- in other words, it's trendy to report the shipwrecks as opposed to the successful voyages. Garsh, spanky, those sailors could fall of the end of this flat world if they a'keep on 'splorin' like that!!!
Hear's a great view from an email I received from a friend this week, tweaked a tad-bit for 'family reading":
"We were first on the moon. The only ones on the moon. Cling to that memory.
'Cause now we're the Space Puss#*%s.
We sent John Glenn aloft on a rocket that was 30% sure to blow up underneath him.
We sent Apollo 8 into lunar orbit even though we didn't know how to do it at the time.
We sent Neil Armstrong to the surface of the moon without being totally sure he wouldn't just sink through the lunar surface like it was talcum powder.
Now we're spending billions of dollars building camera booms and having unnecessary space walks to make sure the Space Shuttle didn't chip any paint during liftoff.
More people die in automobile accidents in the United States every hour than have died in the entire history of the U.S. and Russian space programs combined.
Let's spend more time checking our tire pressure and less time harrowing our already dwindling Space Program to death.
Did anybody notice they've discovered a new planet in our solar system, or were we too occupied with the latest episode of The O.C.?"
Also, former Apollo flight director Eugene F. Franks, author of "Failure Is Not An Option - From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond", had a very perceptive editorial in the New York Times last week, which you can read by clicking Here. Check out Eugene's powerful perspective versus Cagle's cowering timidity:
"There are many nations that wish to surpass us in space. Does the "quit now" crowd really believe that abandoning the shuttle and International Space Station is the way to keep America the pre-eminent space-faring nation? Do they really believe that a new spacecraft will come without an engineering challenge or a human toll? The path the naysayers suggest is so out of touch with the American character of perseverance, hard work and discovery that they don't even realize the danger in which they are putting future astronauts - not to mention our nation."
Eugene and NASA have said it best - "Failure is not an option."