There are few Carl Sagans in the world today. Sagan was a dynamic scientist whose discussions about the universe were conveyed an excitement about the unknown and the opportunities for exploration that was contagious. There is a weighty apathy that permeates the American collective that needs to be reinvigorated with the excitement, hope, pride and enthusiasm of yesterday. It is perhaps time to move beyond the shuttle and space station programs, and time for more in depth exploration and colonization of the moon with an eye towards that as a jumping off point for a manned mission to Mars. It is time for NASA to be innovative, and to think of tomorrow by encouraging and attracting the youth of today – perhaps with video games that incorporate the science of space exploration and development. One never knows what untapped young genius might become the next great space explorer.
Today, looking at the image of Buz Aldrin on the moon saluting the American flag in the foreground, with the Apollo craft in the background and the moon rover off to the side, one wonders if it is enough to inspire curiosity, or to give rise to the spirit of adventure in the hearts and minds of young people today.
The achievements of Apollo were so bold and our subsequent efforts so timid that the energy of those years seems a youthful dream,” says Apollo 11 lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. “Had we continued with even that moderate investment in space, about 1% of our national budget, we would have walked on Mars by now – maybe five years ago. (the Washington Times, 1999, p. 20).”
Golden Record” Voyager Interstellar Mission http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/goldenrec.html
Apollo 11 Remembered.” The Washington Times 20 July 1999: 20. Questia. 4 Dec. 2007 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001794564.
Ruffo, C. Christine. “Before This Decade Is out.”: Personal Reflections on the Apollo Program.” The Oral History Review 28.2 (2001): 149+. Questia. 4 Dec. 2007 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001045457.
NASA (2003), Voyager the Intestellar Mission, found online at http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/goldenrec.html, retrieved 2 December 2007..