Originally created 02/24/03

Space exploration is a waste of time, money and lives



First, let me say I grieve for the people who died and their families when the Columbia space shuttle disintegrated. My grief is the same when a plane load of troops plunges to Earth. They, too, had hopes and dreams and families but no national send-off, no tolling of the bells such as for the astronauts who are held just below the angels to a great number of Americans.

Can anyone tell this ex-farm boy, in four syllables or less, how he or she has benefited by our landing on the moon more than 30 years ago?

In Time magazine of Feb. 10, there's an article by Gregg Easterbrook, senior editor of the New Republic and a visiting fellow of the Brookings Institution entitled, "The space shuttle must be stopped." From what I understand, the space shuttle's only function is to haul groceries to space stations. These groceries include everything from air and water to food and toilet paper.

And what does the space station do? It, "like the lazy ol' sun," just roams around heaven all day.

Mr. Easterbrook did say that the only thing required of the men is to study "life science." The astronauts' main job is to take each others' pulse. Oh - Mr. Easterbrook did say it costs "the taxpayers nearly half a million dollars a day for bottled water for the space station." He also adds, "No, that is not a misprint."

We spent billions on the moon trip, just to play one-up on Russia.

It angers me when NASA compares the astronauts to Christopher Columbus. Columbus found land flowing close to "milk and honey." If the planets are like the moon, we'll have to take everything but sunshine.

I hope gravity will take hold of NASA and politicians and hold their heads closer to the ground. "For whom will the bells toll" next?

James V. Parker, North Augusta, S.C.