Saturday, October 27, 2012
Save the Space Center (please?)
In my hometown, there is a nonprofit organization which was (until recently) operating out of an elementary school. Officially called the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, the "Space Center" was a unique and awesome part of my childhood and adolescence.
I have gone to the space center several times. Each time has been a breathtaking and eye-opening experience (even the "Intolerance" mission which was admittedly stale and predictable). We took up roles as crewmembers and officers on a Star Trek themed spaceship simulator. Once briefed and in uniform, we boarded our ship, and embarked, boldly going where no man has gone before.
But it was educational. Aside from learning about real astronomy and physics throughout the course of the mission, we learned teamwork and how to work under pressure.
And now the school district has closed it.
Their major concern is safety. This is valid. According to their official news statement, there are major electrical faults which would cost $700K to repair -- money they are not willing to spend when plans for a new independent facility are in the works. But that's just it; they're only plans. That new facility can't be finished in less than five years (as last I heard), and it will probably never happen now that all independent funding to the program has been put in a tourniquet.
I share all this, because we can make a difference. By making noise. Already, the public outcry has caused the district to release a news statement, and local politicians are proclaiming their ability to save the Space Center (what with the election coming up).
I want more than that. They didn't close the elementary school, they only quarantined the simulators. Two of those simulators are perfectly safe and operational. I want those to be open, and action to be taken to rescue the Space Center, which to me is a symbol of the very best and possibly the future of education.
So, even though you may live far away. Even though you may never be affected by the Space Center specifically, I ask you to help in our effort to save it, because it's worth saving. Please join with us in our effort to save the Space Center.
EDIT: The latest news (11/26/2012) is that, while two of the ships --- the Odyssey and the Voyager --- remain closed, the other three --- the Phoenix, the Magellan, and tbe Galileo II --- are to be reopened. Plans are also being accelerated for the new Space Center building to be constructed. I don't know when these things are going to be brought about.
Posted at 9:32 AM