Saturday, February 01, 2003

Columbia Disaster
I remember the day vividly back on January 28th, 1986. I was in my 8th grade social studies class at Washington Junior High in Jamestown, New York. All day long most teachers keep their classes in the auditorium watching television coverage of the Challenger tragedy. To this day I hate watching the video of the Challenger exploding. Feeling the fear then as I do now is horrible and the pain of the families of the astronauts is unimaginable. Those feelings must be respected and the reason for the loss of Columbia must be investigated fully. However, now that another shuttle has been lost, I have but one thought. Space flight must continue. NASA went 3 years without launching a shuttle. That cannot happen again. The United States must continue with manned space flights, and must work towards new and brilliant goals. We must take this horrible event and the grief it will and has brought to the world and use it to build a new effort to go back to the Moon and on to Mars. Fear cannot be let to rule space exploration. The reaction after the Challenger disaster held back space exploration in an untold number of ways. We must not recoil into the shell of hyper-caution, and instead honor the 7 astronauts and all past space explorers by living the dreams of pushing the envelope and breaking out of confines of our planet and our star system. As a society we must understand the risks of exploration and not let the knee-jerk culture of fear to hold back the progress of knowledge. Humans must strive to better themselves. We must go where no one has gone before.

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