‘That’s One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind’
John F. Kennedy was the first president to set his sights on the moon. He promised that one day, man would land on the moon. In 1969, six years after his death, Kennedy’s vision came true. After years of blood, sweat, and tears, NASA landed the Apollo 11 spacecraft on the moon successfully. It was an easy choice for Kennedy when he made it, though.
When Kennedy first announced his plan to have a man on the moon, the United States was staring the USSR dead in the eye during the Cold War. The first person to blink would lose. The fact that Russia had successfully managed to put a human in orbit was enough to fuel the American public’s notice. At the time Kennedy made his declaration, NASA was popular with populous, making it easy to promise funding to NASA. Unfortunately, though, NASA hasn’t always been as popular as it was then, or as it is now.
Unfortunately for NASA, its funding relies on the whims of Congress and of the President. For example, Obama recently promised that NASA, who would be working closely with private space exploration companies, would set foot on Mars. That’s all well and good for him to promise, but with his term drawing to an end, he can’t really back up his promise. As with President Kennedy, it was an easy promise to make. The nation has been enthralled with images from Mars and, more recently, Jupiter. As a new President gets closer to the White House, NASA needs Juno Probe more than ever.
The cleverly named Juno Probe has, so far, been a success. The five year long journey to reach the gas giant reported no problems. It reached Jupiter back in July of this year, and received a fair bit of of enthusiastic fanfare from the press.
The probe, worth a whopping $1billion dollars, was scheduled to to drop down closer to the surface of Jupiter in mid-October to take images of the surface of the plant. Due to parts of the main engine not working entirely, the descent was pushed back until December 11th of this year.
In all honesty, NASA made the right decision in delaying Juno’s descent. If they want to make it to Mars by the 2030’s, they’re going to need public support, as well as funding and support from the US government. The full failure of the Juno probe could tank any future plans NASA might have.
What it all boils down to is this: NASA need Juno to be a huge success, and to keep the idea of space trave exciting. If not, then NASA won’t have a big part in a Mars landing as they did the Moon landing.