July 27, 2011


I really don’t let too many things get to me anymore and I have never been one to “pin” a letter to the editor.  It’s not that I don’t have definite feelings and opinions on a fairly wide range of topics; I just don’t get bent out of shape over “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.  I do have my limits!

On 21 July 2011 at approximately 5:54 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, the good ship Atlantis touched down at NASA Kennedy—for the last time.  This marked the end of a remarkable era in our nation’s history.  From this point on, we will have to depend upon the Russians, if we continue our manned exploration of outer space—a remarkable turn of events.  The first launch for our shuttle craft was 12 April 1981 and from that time, names such as Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour thrilled us with deeds previously read about in science fiction literature.  That “one small step for mankind” was actually turning into a fairly giant leap and providing technological advances so very important to any nation.  The discontinuance of our manned space program, in my opinion, demonstrates a remarkable lack of national resolve and an appalling dearth of leadership from the Executive and Legislative Branches of our Federal Government.  21 July 2011 truly marks the day the music died.  I know this is melodramatic but how on earth can we just walk away from 40 plus years of accomplishment?  Mercury, Gemini, Apollo; all precursors to successful execution of shuttle missions to provide needed manpower, equipment and supplies to an orbiting space station—a platform dedicated to scientific endeavor and— we JUST WALK  AWAY.    OK, as a country, we are admittedly broke.  We have no money BUT, the NASA budget is 0.58 percent of our national budget.  We are spending $11.00 billion per hour in Iraq.  Do you realize that our government spends $20 billion each year to air condition tents and temporary living quarters in Iraq and Afghanistan?  For every $1.00 the FED spends on NASA, it spends $98.00 on social programs.  If we cut spending for social programs by 1%, we could nearly double the NASA budget.  There are 44 million people on food stamps. How much of that do you think is fraudulent?   Fully, 47 percent of our population does NOT pay a nickel in taxes—47%.  Medicare and Medicaid are rife with abuse, and yet, there is no concerted effort to correct the situation. The point being, we have our national priorities truly confused.  There is money for NASA but no willingness on the part of our “leaders” to continue the effort.   In the long run, when China has a colony on the moon, when India launches a manned mission to Mars, we will realize that an awful price has been paid for our grievous mistake.  It then, will be too late.

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