A World of Praise for NASA

The opening sentence in “Blastoff!” (by Amy Wallace, June 27) serves to promulgate an incomplete and unfortunate notion of what NASA is all about. “The United States Congress,” the story proclaims, “created NASA in 1958 to send men to the moon.”

That’s it? Is that what’s being said about NASA in our schools? In our news media?

Suggested reading: the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (as amended).

The writer hints at NASA’s versatility but leaves a reader feeling the only thing the agency does is explore out in space. Of this letter she probably thinks, hey get a life, this is a fun piece about Hollywood hype. This is Disney borrowing NASA’s pad to premiere a nifty science-fiction movie. Also, fella, this is Calendar, not the Business section.


Well, OK, but I hope Disney paid lots of rent for the tent.

Since that fabled first moon trip of 1969, NASA has had to fight for sufficient funding. They still need to persuade some members of Congress that NASA’s programs really do include more than rock-gathering field trips.

Evidence of NASA’s breadth, perhaps, is that during its 40-year life it has spent nearly $520 billion (in equivalent 1997 dollars). If you’re puzzled as to where all this money went, talk to local folks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or Hughes Space & Communications, or Boeing Space, for openers. Or see NASA’s Web site at

As to all that money, it appears on the surface to have been well spent.



Laguna Niguel