Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Friday, August 12, 2005

Duct tape

I've been reading a little about the space shuttle Discovery, and am very glad the astronauts made it home safely. But some of those technical problems they were having... I'm no rocket scientist, but in my opinion, the space program in general either needs some serious repair or needs to just throw in the towel altogether.

In one interview, while they were trying to repair the shuttle before liftoff, one of the NASA officials said it was sort of like an old, beat-up car. Like it was needing repairs all the time, maybe as if they needed to trade it in for a new model. If I recall, the astronaut who ended up doing repair work in orbit actually took some duct tape along, just in case.

I know people (especially in the editorial cartoons -- now, those were funny :D) stereotypically joke around about duct tape being the universal fixit tool, but COME ON. Is this not a multi-million (if not -billion) dollar vehicle they're riding in? Aren't the astronauts' lives on the line? Remember the Challenger, the Columbia??

I don't get it. We spend millions of dollars on the space program, but lately SO many things have gone wrong. I am tired of hearing about astronauts dying -- it is a totally unnecessary tragedy. And I am very glad that the Discovery astronauts' lives were preserved this time.

Granted, it sounds like NASA has accomplished a ton in the past. Taking mankind's first steps on the moon will probably be one of its coolest achievements. And I enjoy learning about outer space (just ask my family -- I had an old solar system poster hanging in my room for the LONGEST time when I was a kid :">). But where do we draw the line? When is enough enough? When do we stop trying to go where no man has gone before?

In my opinion, I think the space program should either get all its ducks in a row and actually IMPROVE all the rinky-dinky technology that transports our astronauts' fragile lives every time they go into orbit --

Or, and this is personally what I would prefer -- just scrap the space program altogether and let the scientists use their brains (and not to mention taxpayers' dollars) to figure out more pressing problems. Like national security. Or the border patrol. Or "world peace," or any of the other zillion pressing issues. I think technology could be put to very good use in other areas.

Just, please... don't go back into space with duct tape again. How utterly embarrassing...

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