Current Events That Struck a ChordApril 3, 2012
Recently, 60 Minutes, did a story about the SpaceCoast, and how it has changed now that the Shuttle Program has been shut down. It was a very difficult piece to watch because it just emphasized how hard it is to get a job right now. And I being an unemployed entry-level engineer hearing about people with many more years of experience not getting a job does not give me much confidence. However, it’s good that it’s out there. I feel very strongly about NASA and manned spaceflight and I’m not sure how I feel with privatization compared with keeping it a government agency. I can see positives on both sides of the coin. As a response to 60 Minutes, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden wrote a blog about how the story about the SpaceCoastdid not tell the whole story. He talked about how he and President Obama were working hard to create more jobs, and that unemployment in Brevard County, Floridawere the lowest they had been since 2009. (You can see the 60 Minutes video here: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7403938n and Bolden’s response here: http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/bolden/posts/post_1333472915111.html )
I think it’s great that people are working so hard to bring unemployment down. I think it’s great that people are still talking about NASA as something important, and I understand that many people feel NASA has become pointless. It is this last fact that has me concerned. I could go into a long diatribe about how Americans just aren’t inspired anymore, and care more about what celebrity had the foie gras for lunch, than they do about significant science progress, but that’s not what my point is for this post.
Because NASA is a government agency, and the leaders are chosen by the President, the future of NASA changes every 4 years. It could be dramatic, or it could be something small. Either way, the direction is a very fluid thing. So while it’s great that President Obama is promising to bring more jobs, jobs in the space industry may not always be a priority. If the people whom elect the next president don’t see a point to NASA, the next president is less likely to work to improve the conditions in that industry. I see this as one of those big negatives out there, as related to working for NASA, but at the same time, knowing all that doesn’t change that I would love for a chance to work in that industry. It’s not going to be glorious and rosy all the time, but nothing is.
So I choose to take Administrator Bolden’s words as a piece of hope with which to grasp and cling to. The world isn’t perfect, the country isn’t perfect, but when we have opportunities that spark our imagination and creativity, I think it’s important to let those shine and continue to glow. What do you think? Is hoping that NASA will still be there tomorrow, fostering the edge of exploration in space just a pipe dream?