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Difficulty Level: Easy

VOCAB to know before you read

Mortgage, trepidation, unveil, fiscal, prognosis, empower, enterprise, efficient, robust, precursor, propulsion,
innovation, endeavor

The right way forward on space exploration
By James Cameron
Friday, February 5, 2010

What do rockets burn for fuel? Money. Money that is contributed by working families who have
mortgages and children who need braces. And why do the American people support our efforts
in space? Because they still believe, to some extent or another, in that shining dream of exploring
other worlds. So it could be said that rockets really run on dreams.
The exploration of space is the grandest adventure challenging the human race. As a filmmaker I
have celebrated this greatest of dreams in my movies and documentaries, and I remain as
passionate about the discoveries ahead as I was when I was a kid. So it was with some
trepidation that I waited for the NASA budget to be unveiled this week. I was concerned that
amid the nation's fiscal crises, space exploration would fall off the priority list. But the NASA
budget reveals a pathway to a bright future of exploration. It simply reflects the deep changes
and hard decisions necessary to accomplish that goal.
Last year President Obama instructed the Augustine commission to report on the likely
prognosis for NASA's exploration activities. After months of study, the conclusions the panel
released in October were gloomy. The Constellation program, designed to put humans back on
the moon by 2020, could not possibly succeed within that time frame or budgeted amount, it
In response, the president and NASA have crafted a bold plan that truly makes possible this
nation's dreams for space. Their plan calls for the full embrace of commercial solutions for
transporting astronauts to low Earth orbit after the space shuttle is retired this year. This frees
NASA to do what it does best: deep space exploration, both robotic and human. By selecting
commercial solutions for transportation to the international space station, NASA is empowering
American free enterprise to do what it does best: develop technology quickly and efficiently in
a competitive environment.
As Peter Diamandis, chairman of the nonprofit X Prize Foundation, wrote this week: "The U.S.
Government doesn't build your computers, nor do you fly aboard a U.S. Government owned and

"It's a school night!" They grew up to become engineers. started as starry-eyed childhood dreamers. I have gotten to know a lot of people at NASA while working on projects to advance space and ocean exploration. And the space station's lifespan will be extended several years. Maybe they loved science-fiction stories." When the shuttle is finally retired after about three decades of service. “it could be said that rockets really run on dreams. at a cost of $50 million per person. money is being made available to both Earth and planetary science. private industry will take over this capability within a few years. the United States will be dependent on the Russian Soyuz to get our astronauts to the international space station. with their promise of alien worlds. 2. which can help us understand climate change on our own world and the processes at work on some of the other worlds in our solar system. Private industry routinely takes technologies pioneered by the government and turns them into cheap. summarize the authors dreams for space exploration. or is it a wasteful endeavor? Argue your point in 3-4 well-structured paragraphs. The money saved will be plowed into research and development of robotic explorers that will act as precursors and technology demonstrators. Additional funding has been committed to the development of advanced propulsion technology. or maybe they were geeks like me. paraphrase at least three specific aspects of NASA’s new plan for exploring space. peering through a telescope in the back yard until their moms yelled again for them to come inside -. much more quickly than Constellation would have. In a second paragraph. James Cameron. Do you share his dream? Is space exploration a good use of our money and time. paving the way for human exploration of the moon. This cooperative international effort is important as a model for how future large-scale missions will be organized and funded. the author writes. and at a competitive price.” In a brief paragraph (3-5 sentences). brilliant planetary scientists and steely-eyed missile men who collectively have pushed our human presence out to the moon and our robotic presence not just to Mars but also to the outer reaches of the solar system. the writer and director of "Avatar" and "Titanic. if not most. I applaud President Obama's bold decision for NASA to focus on building a space exploration program that can drive innovation and provide inspiration for the world. But under the new NASA plan. Optional Essay: Respond to the author’s position. At the beginning of the article. I've found that many. asteroids and Mars. 2 . reliable and robust industries. This is the path that can make our dreams in space a reality.operated airline. Over the past 15 years." served on the NASA Advisory Council from 2003 to 2005. which in turn will increase the science yield and satisfy our international partners. In addition. Paragraph Response: 1. which can bring down the cost of spaceflight.