Shuttle, hail and farewell

I am reminded of the great "space men" of the 1950s and '60s; men who steered a young nation, in fits and starts, into space-Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Werner von Braun, Arthur C. Clarke, Willy Ley, Ray Bradbury, even Walt Disney. They all showed vision, courage and an amazing public "can-do" bravado; they influenced voters and the popular imagination.

"We get the leaders we deserve," is the old ElectionDay loser's lament. Yet, there's reason to think that America's brightest days in space are still ahead. There's always hope for a new beginning with new leadership.

If you are a space enthusiast like me, I encourage you to study your political party's national platform and see what its leaders say about space exploration. Write to your elected officials-on all levels of government, state and national. Let them know about your personal passion for space. America's future in space is in your hands.

Lou Varricchio, M.Sc., was a science writer at the NASAAmes Research Center in California. He is currently involved with the NASA-JPL Solar System Ambassador program in Vermont.

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