Saturday, August 05, 2006

Outer Space Environment : Atmosphere or Moon and Mars

Almost three years ago, President Bush announced that he wanted the U.S. to return to the Moon and explore Mars. So the Bush administration is diverting some of the earth science research budget used for climate monitoring to Moon and planetary space exploration. NASA is uniquely qualified to conduct climate monitoring and will continue to do so with its network of satellites. And the administration has increased funding for climate studies at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Of course, if one accepts climate change as a foregone conclusion, then how much more study is needed? We should be pursuing solutions and low-earth orbit monitoring should be used to quantify improvements.

America lost its space lust after we landed on the Moon (except for movies). Instead of being impressed over time, the public response has been, so what? Young people do not seem to care at all. Although low earth orbit research has its practical applications, humans seem to relish adventure. And there is nothing more adventurous than venturing out to the Moon and the planets. The Space Shuttle has not generated much excitement and the tragedies have hurt the program. The International Space Station is not generating much interest from the general public. Although the earth was created specifically for humans, establishing research and development stations on the Moon and Mars would probably be very exciting to a global public.

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