Why spend money to send astronauts into outer space when we could use it to fight poverty and hunger on Earth? Americans began asking the question long before July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. walked on the moon as Michael Collins orbited with their spacecraft, and some may ask it again today.
Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, responds in The Last Lecture www.thelastlecture.com, written with Jeffrey Zaslow:
“I understand the arguments about how the billions of dollars spent to put men on the moon could have been used to fight poverty and hunger on earth. But, look, I’m a scientist who sees inspiration as the ultimate tool for doing good.
“When you use money to fight poverty, it can be of great value, but too often, you’re working at the margins. When you’re putting people on the moon, you’re inspiring all of us to achieve the maximum of human potential, which is how our greatest problems will eventually be solved.”
© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.