NASA'S "Rendezvous' More Glitch than Glitz (CON)

The latest push for perfecting rendezvous technology in space ended as a failure. DART, which is an experiment designed to test automated docking technology by National Aeronautics Space Administration had launched successfully on Friday April 15, 2005, from an aircraft that fired a Pegasus rocket containing DART.

DART is a 110 million dollar NASA project, whose purpose was to establish autonomous rendezvous capabilities that have long before done by human astronauts. DART would bring NASA to a new age, in which a machine alone can travel Earth's orbit almost with no risk.

At first, NASA scientists were gleeful that the mission went off to a great start, but it wasn't until DART reached orbit that things suddenly went wrong. Ground controllers were getting on-orbit checkouts from DART that had several perceived navigation errors.

DART was a project that had a fixed budget, meaning that not too much money was used on it. Its capabilities were somewhat limited as a result. One such limited capability was that it couldn't fix itself during the trip to orbit. This is one reason that the project didn't succeed in its mission.

However, it still managed to get within 300 feet from his target satellite, when NASA faced the next problem. DART was losing fuel too rapidly. That resulted in DART making an attempt, with the help of its guidance system, to get to safe orbit and wait to reenter Earth's atmosphere within 10 years.

DART is one of NASA's many projects, that despite the fact that it was on a fixed budget, was still worth much more than what it takes to fill up several cars with gasoline for a lifetime! And with today's fuel prices, that is saying something.

How far is government spending, not just NASA, going to go before the people of this country figure out that there are hundreds of millions of Americans, who are in desperate need of government aid. With today's unsound economy, shouldn't we limit government spending, especially NASA projects that deal with the search of life in other planets other than our own. I mean can the government take care of our planet before you go out and search for any others?

The money saved from being used in government funded projects like DART, can be used to help students who are trying to get into college. In turn they can help this broken economy by getting a degree of some sort so they can get a job.

Santa Monica College student Isaias Rojas, believes that there should be a limit in government funds and has a few ideas about where the money can go to if government spending was decreased.

"We should help rebuild buildings, give more to the needy, and limit money on defense that the nation uses each day in the war in Iraq," he said.

Rojas has a point. Students are just the few that can benefit from having this extra money flowing their way. There are bold possibilities that can be breached like the government creating more jobs, or quite possibly, getting more tax cuts or more for your refund from your yearly tax return.

We are in an age where our government believes in defending our country against foreign enemies is much more vital than trying to help their own country's people. Unnecessary government spending is not worth risking your future, your child's future, and your future descendants who will pay later on for the misuse of government spending, like NASA's DART project.