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Is Outer Space Good for America?

The visage of a bulky, awkward colonial explorer flickered on television sets throughout the United States on that day in 1969. It was an event that signified much more than what was being relayed. All watched in admiration and awe as the first steps on the moon were made by Neil Armstrong, a lowly Earth creature never meant to break free of its planet’s atmosphere. But it did. And it was an American. As the moon particles settled around the explorer, and a star-spangled flag was brandished, a political victory came into focus, though most television viewers were unable to see clearly what was happening. JFK’s outer space promises to the American people were fulfilled through the NASA program, and we’d left the Soviets, our scientific and ideological rivals, eating our otherworldly dust. On April 15 of this year, at the JFK Space Center in Florida, President Obama gave a speech announcing the discontinuance of any immediately-planned manned space flights launched through NASA, around forty years after Neil Armstrong took that first step. You wouldn’t have known that’s what he was communicating by the content of his speech: Obama was more concerned with a NASA budgetary increase of six million dollars, allocated for robotic space missions and technological advancements (Obama n.p). But the heart of the matter, for the scientific community and commentators listening in, was the end of American astronauts drifting into space at the behest of tax payers. The reason for Obama’s manned space flights cut was due largely to the Constellation program, an expansive effort to erect a moon base by 2020 for use as a pit stop in future Mars missions, enacted by the Bush administration in 2005 (Sutter n.p.). The pre-Obama administration prog... ... middle of paper ... ...ts Jobs at Michoud.” wwltv.com 16 Apr. 2010. Web. 1 Oct 2010. www.wwltv.com/news/local/Obama-NASA-Plan-Cuts-Jobs-At-Michoud- 90984639.html>. Pallone, Greg. “New NASA Budget Includes Additional Space Shuttle Flight.” Orlando News 13. 30 Sept. 2010. Web. 1 Oct 2010. /september/156845/How-the-new-NASA-plan-will-affect-Space-Coast-economy>. Rodgers, Ben. “Scientist: Mars Mission Pushed Back by a Century.” Jamestown Sun. 4 Apr. 2010. Print. Sutter, John D. "Obama Budget Would Cut Moon Exploration Program." cnn.com. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 1 Feb 2010. Web. 19 Oct 2010. 02-01/tech/nasa.budget.moon_1_space-exploration-nasa-administrator-charlie-bolden-] nasa-programs?_s=PM:TECH>. Swanson, Alex, and Leo Walford. “Mars robots...and God.” New Scientist. 184.2444 (2004): 33. Print.

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