The opinions represented in this article do not necessarily represent those of the staff of CUIndependent.com nor any of its sponsors.
Space is the coolest thing ever. It represents limitless possibilities, limitless life, and enough mysteries to keep our never-ending curiosities at work. Nothing about space is too far-fetched.
Although we live in an age where we are fortunate enough to be able to get out there and explore this never-ending frontier, our means of getting there have been scrapped, grounded and discontinued.
Anyone who has ever looked up at the night sky can agree that there is nothing else that captures people’s imaginations quite like the deep reaches of outer space. For thousands of years humans have wanted to know what’s out there. They’ve studied and made theories and spent countless years trying to understand space. The human imagination has expanded and grown thanks to space and the opportunities it presents.
However, President Obama has decided to ground NASA’s ambitious space program geared towards getting astronauts back to the moon and beyond to Mars. Instead, the president is giving the responsibilities of developing new boosters, rockets, and spacecraft to, wait for it, private companies.
The hope here is that the private companies will be able to move faster and create cheaper products than NASA, but this strategy has severe risks. Newer companies have yet to prove themselves up to the task, and larger companies will still likely deliver late and more expensive products than expected. If they do fall behind schedule, our only option to reach space will be to hitch a ride with the Russians, or another space-faring country.
The other problem with this is that the cheapest product will be chosen. While NASA’s sole goal was to reach space and explore, these companies are in it for the money. They want their product bought, and so they’re going to do whatever they can to cut costs. And so, they will create the cheapest spacecraft that fulfills the minimum safety and technological requirements, in order to make the biggest profit.
While money and the economy are issues, I don’t want to trust the exploration of space to companies driven by profit.
With no definite date for the availability of commercial flight yet in sight, the U.S. space program has been grounded indefinitely. The focus is now solely on the International Space Station, a project which has yielded minimal scientific value. The mission for the ISS has changed repeatedly over the years, from human adaptations in space to manufacturing materials. And the mission is going to change again. And again.
Granted the economy creates problems with spending money, and many people will think that now is not the time to spend money on space when so much else is wrong. However, there are things more important than money. If we cease to look upward, then where else do we have to go? Where will we get the room to grow, not only as humans but also as people?
I still haven’t given up on my dream of getting into space. I still hope that someday, I’ll have to chance to experience the wonder, majesty and awe of space travel.
But with this policy, my dreaming might be in vain.
I want my future child to be able to look up, not knowing what’s out there, but still knowing in the back of his mind that he can find out.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer David Blackwell at David.email@example.com.