Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Return to Space

I’ve got to say that I’m quite surprised by the sheer volume of news coverage that has surrounded the space shuttle launch. I understand that it’s a pretty big event in that NASA is finally getting back up and running but in all seriousness it’s been a media glut. Are they trying to drum up support for themselves? I would say that this is partly what they are trying to do and the second part of it is that the media has latched onto the terrorist bombings and a lot of very negative stories of late and they’re seeing this as an opportunity to present a positive story to the public.

But what has surprised me the most is just how much NASA has focused on the safety component of getting the shuttles back up and running. It’s taken two and a half years and they’ve spend countless millions, probably close to a billion dollars just making the shuttles safer. Overall I’d say this is a noble effort but honestly; astronauts understand that they are taking a risk, a very big risk, in going into space. We haven’t perfected space travel and there will be accidents, but is it worth spending that much time, energy and money in making the shuttles just a bit safer especially since they’re going to be decommissioned before the decade is out? I don’t know about that one.

In the meantime I would say it’s a great thing that NASA is back up and running, now they need to speed things up a bit and get cracking with the billions of dollars they spend. If they don’t I’d surmise that big business is going to beat them to the punch and make them virtually useless loosing any significant benefits for the US by being first.

Links to some articles:
Globe and Mail(Toronto) Article

BBC Article

Link to NASA: