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NASA Administrator: Today we could have marked thirty years since the first manned landing on Mars

The current director of NASA, Michael Griffin was a small child when Neil Armstrong walked on the lunar surface * At an event to mark the fiftieth anniversary of NASA, on October 1, Armstrong brought up experiences and asks that humanity continue the journey, while Griffin promises: The good old days of NASA "A before her *

Neil Armstrong in a lecture to children at the MadaTech Museum in Haifa, July 10, 2007.
Neil Armstrong in a lecture to children at the MadaTech Museum in Haifa, July 10, 2007.

NASA celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this week (October 1). On October 1, 1958, the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics (NACA) officially became the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, or NASA for short. "The transition was relatively easy," said Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 astronaut and the first man to walk on the moon at an event held by NASA to mark the date. "We've already developed missiles and flown test planes, we hardly need to replace the C with an S on our planes, trucks and vans." But beyond the cosmetic changes, what did the name NASA say to the average citizen in the US and around the world?

"Thanks to NASA," said Armstrong, "our knowledge of the universe has increased thousands of times and more." We learned that the Homo sapiens were not destined to be forever bound to Earth's gravity. The performance, efficiency, reliability and safety of the planes have improved tremendously. We have sent spacecraft all over the solar system and beyond. We looked deep into the universe and back almost to the beginning of time."

Armstrong did not say that the space race in the XNUMXs prevented war between the US and the Soviet Union, but said that it was a diversion. "He was massive" he said. "He allowed both sides to go a long way to advance the goals of science, study and research."

However, in the end, the competition turned into cooperation and while the current partnership between the US, Russia and 14 other countries that helped establish the International Space Station is not perfect, it is a platform for continued cooperation between the various entities.

Currently, NASA has directly impacted the average citizen. Today there is an abundance of devices and technologies that we take for granted and that would not have been within our reach without NASA. There is a nice list and everyone just has to read it on the NASA spin-off website.

"Our greatest and most important hope is that the human race will improve its reason, nature and wisdom," Armstrong said, concluding his speech. "NASA, as well as all other space agencies and organizations in the world, assisted in the effort and humanity was given an opportunity to strive for these qualities."

"Some would say that NASA is now in a mid-life crisis. Some will say that she is disconnected. Some will look at NASA and think what it could have been." says the current administrator of NASA, Mike Griffin at the same event. "We don't celebrate our fiftieth birthday, the 20th anniversary of the first manned landing on Mars - and we could have done that."

"NASA receives a lot of criticism. She deserves some of it. Some things are beyond the control of the space agency. Some claim that NASA needs additional funding, others claim that it does not properly manage the funds it receives. However, the estimates are that for every dollar invested in the space program, the economy receives back eight dollars, this is an excellent return, whether it is in good times from an economic point of view or in bad times like now. While not everything at NASA should be measured in money, NASA is an investment.” states Griffin.

"Personally, NASA has been around for most of my life. My sister and I camped out in front of the TV set to watch the moon landing. Although I was quite young and didn't understand everything, I knew that the event I was watching was much bigger than two people jumping on the moon and bigger than the country whose flag was planted in the lunar regolith soil. It was humanity at its best, and the triumph of the spirit and integrity that each of us has. However, these qualities are not only a thing of the past at NASA. They are here even now. I still feel the spirit, the integrity and the excitement when I attend the celebratory events of the space missions, or have the opportunity to speak with a NASA engineer who helped achieve an important milestone in some mission, or with an astronomer who just made a sensational discovery.”

For information on the Universe Today website

To Armstrong's speech in Israel, July 10, 2007 - Those who do not take risks do not progress

For a separate news from the day this news is published (4/10/2008) - Original pages from Ilan Ramon's diary are on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

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