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May 21, 2009

Obama Praises Exploration

President Obama called the astronauts on STS-125 today (5-20-09) to congratulate them on restoring and upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

"Like a lot of Americans, I've been watching with amazement the gorgeous images you've been sending back and the incredible repair mission you've been making in space," the president said. "I think you're providing a wonderful example of the kind of dedication and commitment to exploration that represents America and the space program generally. These are traits that have always made this country strong and all of you personify them."

Obama also noted that the spacewalks "excited my 10-year-old and my 7-year-old." He added, "By allowing Hubble to continue on its journey, you've really allowed all of us to continue on our journey of growth and exploration. You know, here in Washington, there's a lot of talk about clarifying our focus, our vision for where the country needs to go. And I really think that what you guys represent is an example of what 'vision' means."

When I heard this, my response was, "Roger that!" (and maybe a little bit of yeehaw :)

There are lots of excellent summaries online about what the Hubble crew accomplished technically, all of it fantastic stuff--but the lasting impact of this mission is not only the newly-expanded spectral "vision," but the vision of exploration that President Obama aptly recognizes is the key to inspiring this nation to achieve great things.

Now is a perfect time to remind people everywhere of the National Space Society's vision: "People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity."

The Hubble crew showed yet again that humans can indeed work in space and take advantage of its resources. One space resource is its lack of air--the vacuum of space provides a crystal clear, cloud-free view for Hubble, and other space telescopes, to capture of the wonders of the heavens.

HST can now see farther into space and across a wider spectrum than ever before. Soon we may image new worlds for us to probe, and one day, explore.

So thank you to the STS-125 crew for reigniting the fire of exploration. And thank you to President Obama for recognizing the importance of our space program to the future growth of the United States!

NSS members and friends in Houston can welcome the crew home at 4 p.m. (gate opens at 3:30 Central time)) at Ellington Field the day after landing. If landing is Friday, the welcome home will be on Saturday. Maybe I'll see some of you there--if not, at ISDC next week in Florida!

To the stars,

Marianne Dyson
NSS Advisor

Posted by m_dyson at May 21, 2009 01:18 AM



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