There has been much debate over NASA, its budget and whether its explorations of space should continue during these tough economic times, but what many people in America, as well around the world don't know is that NASA has given us many innovations and technology that we use every day.
Without these we would not have satellite television (not only this but radio and mobile phone connections), satellite navigation, Google Earth, Artificial limbs, MRI and CAT scans, breast cancer screening, water filters, freeze-dried foods and cordless power tools. This is just a small selection of what NASA has given to society.
These innovations by NASA is not the only thing that they are famous for, sure they sent man into space, then to the moon and eventually in the next twenty or so years to Mars but NASA has shown what can be done when man puts his incredible mind that God has created in each and every one of us to work.
I am reminded of the Bible verse Psalm 19:1 'The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.' It is true that on a clear night you can see the marvellous universe God has created forever. There is no greater view than looking up to the stars of a night in wonder and the enormity of the Galaxy we call home and that as you read this the Earth is spinning on its axis at around 1700 km/h. Yet the endless void that begins just 100 kilometres above us has been visited by around 500 people.
After visiting the Kennedy Space Centre on a recent holiday to the US, seeing the space craft, vehicles and technology up close has made me fully appreciate what NASA has done for humankind. It was awe-inspiring to see the Saturn-V Rocket – all 116 metres of it in one room! Then to look out to the launch pad with the Shuttle Endeavour ready for take-off in a few months after our visit.
It was fantastic to meet and talk to an Astronaut and hear of his experiences in space. And a quote that stood out to me from his talk was that "Seeing the Earth just sitting there and being able to cover whole continents with your hand makes you love Earth more and that the song 'He's got the whole word in his hands' rings true through your ears as you see God's entire creation of the planet we call home".
With the shuttle program ending with the touchdown of Atlantis, NASA now sets it gaze further into space and to our nearest neighbour in the Galaxy, Mars, With the astonishing power of the human mind and the unstoppable force of the human spirit, we can be ready for a new dawn of space exploration and to go out and visit the wonderful universe that God has provided for us.
Christopher Archibald lives in Sydney and is an under-graduate student.