Education. Exploration. Motivation.

Categories: Education, Politics, Science & Tech
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I caught the shuttle launch yesterday morning. {videos at the end in case you missed it}

And as I watched, a part of my heart died, not just because that’s the last shuttle, but because I was reading about NASA budget cuts putting the successor to Hubble in danger at the time.

I also noticed two political cartoons yesterday that at first glance might not seem related – It’s gonna be a long long time & The future of public education.

Let me explain.

I am a NASA junkie. I dreamed of being an astronaut and going into space. I love space. I love the moon. I love the stars. I love the planets. I love it. I went to Shuttle Camp at the New Mexico Museum of Space History more than once when I was in elementary school. I built and launched my own model rockets. I ate my share of space ice cream and tried on a space suit. I collected space trading cards. I dreamed of going to a launch. I went to Johnson Space Center when I visited my brother in 2001 and got a picture of me juggling in the ISS.

I was inspired. And I wasn’t the only one. :star:

Entire generations have been inspired by the literal reaching for the stars that our country has done. Inspired to go into science and math. Inspired to dream. And it seems like right now the ball is being dropped and the inspiration is fizzling out. NPR ran a story yesterday about “The Inspiration Gap” and the kids today. Will they want to reach as far as we did? Will they have those same dreams?

Every government report about education that comes out says we are falling behind in math and science. They’ve been saying that since Sputnik (check out the book Rocket Boys). And now not only do schools have to deal with their own budgets being cut, but the funding for the science and math exploration is being pulled as well. There are few things more motivating than space. Cutting funding for both is not how we “catch up” with the rest of the world in math and science. It’s stepping back and letting others take our place.

I’m with the kid from this political cartoon from last October though – despite the slashed funding and political hostility, let’s give this education, exploration, and motivation thing a shot anyway.

In the words of Gene Kranz, “Failure is not an option.” If we reach for the stars long enough, we just might get there.

Launch and solid booster rocket separation.

External tank separation.

Photos of the last Atlantis flight:

2 shared thoughts about Education. Exploration. Motivation.

  1. Denice says:

    I also watched the launch and like you I am concerned that is the last one. A lot of our technology has come from that program.

    Just a side note, you look really cute with bangs!

  2. Pingback, 11 July 2011 at 4:22 pm
    Shuttle Camp 1989 | Random Giggles

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