The launch of two satellites bound for the moon last week marked the beginning of NASA's new plan for human spaceflight. The spacecraft will look for potential landing sites, measure radiation, and search for water.
NASA is also moving ahead on a new launch vehicle for astronauts, a prototype of which is now being assembled at the Kennedy Space Center. All of this comes as NASA stands at a major crossroads.
NASA has been assembling spacecraft in this building for more than 40 years, and they plan to continue to do so with a program designed to return astronauts to the moon and eventually to Mars. Exactly how they will do that, and whether they will do it at all, is now under review in Washington.
"People really care about space. It's something that people get emotionally attached to." - Lockheed Martin Chairman Norman Augustine
"When I worked at the Pentagon years ago, if Albert Einstein had come into my office and said, "I've got this great idea: You'll split the atom, and you'll end the war," would I have thrown him out?" - Lockheed Martin Chairman Norman Augustine
"With a few exceptions, we have the technology or the knowledge that we could go to Mars if we wanted with humans. We could put a telescope on the moon if we wanted. The technology is by and large there. It boils down to, what can we afford?" - Lockheed Martin Chairman Norman Augustine
1. When was the last time the United States put a man on the moon?
2. Why do countries want to send humans into space?
1. Do you think the government should be spending money to send humans to the moon or to Mars? Why?
2. Why is space exploration important?
3. How does space exploration compare with earthly issues such as fixing schools and slowing global warming?
4. What kind of person grows up to be an astronaut? What do you need to study? What kind of work do you do before you get to land on Mars?
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