Dr. Jean Gebman lecture series

It symbolizes the most amazing feet of humankind, a stronghold in hearts of all Americans, a staple of sixties pop-culture, were talking about NASA and last Thursday our longest lasting space shuttle, ‘Discovery' set off on its final flight, beginning the end of our beloved space program.

Dr. Jean Gebman gave a lecture at Santa Monica College two days prior to the launch outlining the many ways we can learn from the amazing history of our space program that is sadly concluding as far as manned missions go.

According to NASA's website, after ‘Discovery' is retired there are two more manned missions scheduled, one in April and then ‘Atlantis' in June, but after these are through there are no more scheduled for NASA. This is the first time over the 60 years of our space program this has happened and the reason is simple; we no longer have a shuttle.

How is it possible we could have gone from six manned missions to the moon in the sixties to today where were we don't have a shuttle anymore? "The balance of the political and the physical sciences" was key in how we made it to the moon said Dr. Jean Gebman

Dr. Gebman went on to explain that after the Russians got one up on us with Sputnik, the nation was in a unique predicament, but through an alignment of various political, economic, and scientific factors the goal President Kennedy set to make it to the moon in nine years was attainable. With the whole nation on his side, the space program took logical steps toward that goal.

According to Dr. Gebman, there was openness as to what NASA was up to, as everything they did the American public saw on television. In essence, there was no room for error as the entire world was watching their every move and  because of this openness, important decisions were made by qualified scientists and engineers rather than businessmen and politicians.

Dr. Gebman mentioned that at its height with the Apollo missions there were 400,000 people working toward putting a man on the moon.  He feels that we can use their legacy as a blueprint for problem solving today and proof that individuals can work across business, interest group and political lines. We have many complicated problems today that could use the organization and focus the space program has showed gets us to the moon and back.