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New Faces In The Space Race

Proponents of space exploration certainly recall the past predictions of science fiction that suggested we would be out of our Solar System by this time, and trudging on to other galaxies.

Unfortunately, those travel plans have yet to materialize. NASA’s modern space program was designed with several purposes in mind, the foremost being human dominance in the universe.

When President JFK announced the United State’s dedication towards reaching the Moon, he stoked an already blazing global space race that first began with the Russian ‘Sputnik’ program.

Years later, amid budget cuts and the red tape of bureaucracy, we’ve still barely even left the planet.

The International Space Station is an ancient relic, NASA’s line of shuttle’s have been grounded, and the future of deep space travel has all but been placed in the lap of private space industries. It’s a grim reality we now face, but a reality nonetheless.

Perhaps it’s the deterioration of national morale, though more than likely it’s the onerous economic times we now face. While important in all aspects of science and exploration, space has lamentably taken a backseat to the arduous process of solving an escalating financial crisis that threatens the sovereignty of multiple governments worldwide.

The fact of the matter is quite simple; people have lost interest. Not just in traveling the depths of space, but in exploring the possibilities our universe holds. On the historic day that Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon, the whole world cheered one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments. With stars in our eyes, global troubles halted long enough for us to plan our next cosmic conquest.

We returned to the Moon several missions later for various reasons, though it seemed that with each journey, global support for space travel was diminishing. In modern times, astronauts still walk among us as celebrities, but in the grand scheme of things, they haven’t done much recently.

In a move that would have Pres. JFK rolling in his grave, NASA turned to our Russian cosmonaut allies to shuttle scientists to and from the Space Station. By 2017 however, NASA hopes to rely completely on private space companies to takeover taxi duties, so they can re-focus on future missions to Asteroids and Mars colonization.

Similar undertakings have also been planned by the private industry, which likely will beat NASA to the punch. It’s no secret that these companies operate much more efficiently and economically than their government managed predecessor, which leads many to question NASA’s modern day role.

Due to budget cuts and re-allocation of funds, the space program has been reduced to a reminder of days gone by, when national interest in exploring the universe reached its peak. Nowadays, it’s up to private industries such as Virgin Galactic, Planetary Resources Inc, SpaceX, and Blue Origin to reclaim humanity’s greatness in the ocean of space.

With many unique and exciting ventures planned, most of which have received little funding from the government, it’s an all or nothing race to conquer the galaxy. The space race as we know it is dead and dying, and new faces have emerged to take on the challenge.

By the turn of the next decade, we’ll discover if present-day decisions have been made in disastrous error, or will become triumphant declarations of human fulfillment.

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