Scratching beneath the surface

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 15, 2015

Stars shine bright, meteors race across the sky and the moon serves as a beacon of light during times of darkness. From a distance, space seems relatively simple but it’s complex and society has barely scratched the surface when it comes to space exploration. NASA’s Space Launch System plans to change that and put deep space exploration back on the map.

Thursday, NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center tested the sixth developmental RS-25 engine in a seven-test series, which will power the Space Launch System. Hundreds of spectators watched as the engine was fired, signaling the beginning of a new era where humankind will attempt to explore the depths of space once again.

The Space Launch System is an advanced launch vehicle and the world’s most powerful rocket, which will launch unmanned and manned missions past Earth’s orbit to asteroids or planets like Mars.

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This is a historic moment for NASA. The SLS will be NASA’s first exploration vehicle since the Saturn V took astronauts to the moon more than 40 years ago.

It’s wonderful to see that the space program is starting anew.

While some argue that taxpayer money could be better spent on other ventures, space missions could provide answers to many questions and lead to the discovery of resources that could advance the quality of life on Earth.

After all, it’s important to discover our universe in order to understand our place in it.

If all goes as planned, the RS-25 engine could launch a capsule into space by 2018.

So far, the Space Launch System has 16 RS-25 engines in inventory, which will be enough to power four SLS flights into space.

It’s an exciting time not only for NASA but for humankind.

It’s about time society starts looking to the stars again and wondering what more lies beyond them.