Neil Armstrong to NASA: One Small Step Isn’t Enough

NASA has been under fire recently from a number of former explorers who say it is quickly losing sight of its one time herculean goals – goals that it would often not only meet but exceed.  When NASA attempted to get a rocket to the moon the mission was modified to actually allow human footfalls on the Lunar surface for the first time rather than a simple flight around it.  But now the very man who was chosen to make that one small step for man is saying we’ve taken one giant leap in the wrong direction.

Armstrong is among one of those universally recognized names as a person who accomplished something no human thought possible until shortly before it happened.  The idea of actually making it to the moon and walking around only to return unscathed had been a dream among only the most ambitious of fiction writers until it was mandated by president John F. Kennedy.  And then less than ten years later it actually happened – to the amazement of millions.  And so when he says the very agency that sent him to the moon has stopped acting the way it needs to, some are saying it’s time to listen.

The astronaut who had previously seen the end of the Apollo program already was finally incensed by the lack of leadership the space program was showing after announcements that US access to low Earth orbit would soon be even more limited than ever before – possibly indefinitely.  The astronaut is no stranger to bureaucracy and budget cuts, but he says it’s time to look past the shortcomings of this or any other administration and continue to look to the stars for exploration – and exploitation.  He then went on to say the conditions of the western space program was embarrassing and unacceptable.

Fans of space exploration have agreed for years that NASA’s responsibility to humanity goes much further than the less than ambitious programs it has been undertaking lately.  Even in the face of some of its greatest triumphs, such as the discovery of water on the moon and the sun-shield program which now gives us detailed information on sunspots and increased solar activity, there is a prevailing opinion among explorers of the time that suggests they have lost sight of what the space program was originally about – getting people beyond the boundaries of our own planet and aspiring to explore planets such as Mars.  There are currently no plans to get American colonists on to the red planet, and it looks like that may not change for an unknown period of time.

Armstrong said that the United States’ position of leadership in the space race is severely threatened, and that this position – once lost – may not be possible to reacquire.  What once stood as a point of pride among scientists and indeed all citizens of the US may soon be found only in bittersweet nostalgia.