The Internet Monk
A Dispatch From Our Correspondent in the Public Schools
Lost In Space
Our Young People Need the Great Quest- Again
by Steve Mcfarland
The story of man’s quest for space has always fascinated me, particularly since I grew up in the sixties during the intense race to beat the Russians to the moon. Having just read the memoir of Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director and a man who oversaw missions from Mercury to Apollo, I am more amazed than ever at what was accomplished. It is also enlightening to understand the bitterness that exists from those such as Kraft at the lack of vision, purpose and public interest that is prevalent today in regards to the space program.
In his book, Kraft
indicates that the loss of public interest for the space program was the
most disturbing part of closing the book on Apollo.
There had been many wonderful ideas, even before Mercury to put
man on Mars or at least develop a fully operating space station for
research. By November 1969
when Pete Conrad, Al Bean and Dick Gordon flew Apollo 12, four short
months after Armstrong’s historic steps,
It can be easily argued that the greatest technological and scientific advancements in the twentieth century were a direct result of the space program. It could further be reasoned that future advancements would be as the result of a brave attempt to land a man on the surface of Mars. And it would do wonders for our young people.
is a level of sadness that I feel for young
Science scores may never reach the level experts would like until we give students a scientific dream. It is embarrassing that little in today’s curriculum addresses the heroic adventure that was the American space program. Our kids need to hear the story of Al Shepard’s first space flight in 1961 on a rocket that had not had one single successful trial flight before he lifted off. Talk about courage. They need to know the story of Scott Carpenter’s one and only flight chasing the fireflies that John Glenn had seen earlier and almost running out of fuel before landing 250 miles off course. And they need to know Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White.
I am one that would
stand and cheer our President for saying we choose to go to Mars before
this decade ends. We did it
in the sixties while fighting in