USA back in the space race

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 6, 2014

“Space, the final frontier.”

The opening statement to an iconic television program is known by space nerds and science aficionados alike.

Personally I’ve always been a bigger fan of the spin off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, only because it was the most modern version available when I was a child.

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Back in the 60’s, Star Trek aired just a few years before a real American was shown on television walking on the moon.

That combination could be attributed with putting space at the front of everyone’s mind during the 60s, 70s and 80s. In those first few decades of space travel it seemed Americans would be living on Mars by the time the 21st century rolled around.

But by 2011 the space shuttle program was scrapped, leaving the country that won the space race to rely on our closest competitor to reach the multi-billion dollar investment called the International Space Station, of which America paid most of the bill.

While private companies have been tasked with developing a spacecraft to fill the void of near Earth space travel, NASA has shifted gears to deep space travel.

Friday NASA made a milestone in that endeavor, the successful launch of the Orion capsule. Modeled after the successful capsule that transported astronauts to the moon, the Orion capsule is a bit larger and is being designed to take humans to the red plant and possibly an asteroid.

It’s taken longer than some science fiction movies have foretold, but humans are slowly working their way to occupying planets besides Earth.

I may never see a man walk on the surface of Mars in my lifetime. I’m also sure that I won’t be one of the people to ever achieve that feat. But it’s awe inspiring the things human technology can achieve.