Photos courtesy of NASA.
The change you want to see begins with you!
Likewise, a nation’s agenda is determined by strong leadership and individuals committed to advancing that goal. For example, the United States mission in space exploration. Together, they agreed that an “Investment in NASA’s programs, like investments in other Federal science and technology activities, is an investment in our future” (http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=%2Fprelim%40title51&req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title51&f=&fq=&num=0&hl=false&edition=prelim).
Nations make very costly, long-term investments anticipating the future of their societies. Leaders of these movements have been dubbed heroes, named after famous bible characters like Moses (Harriet Tubman) and Joshua (Michael Norman Manley) because they delivered their citizens from the devious schemes of their enemies.
Well, imagine General Ike (President Dwight D. Eisenhower) in 1958 as he signed into effect the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as an antithesis to Russia’s Sputnik in the race for space. Beyond keeping up with Russia’s agenda, the NASA had among its objectives:
- The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
- The establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from, the opportunities for, and the problems involved in the utilization of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes.
- The preservation of the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical and space science and technology and in the application thereof to the conduct of peaceful activities within and outside the atmosphere.
- Cooperation by the United States with other nations and groups of nations in work done pursuant to this Act and in the peaceful application of the results, thereof; (http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=%2Fprelim%40title51&req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title51&f=&fq=&num=0&hl=false&edition=prelim) .
When we survey NASA’s history, we see measurable success as they have completed more than 135 successful space missions including the most recent landing of the Insight Probe. Would you believe that this 7 year project, which culminated in 6 months of travel and final landing, was the dream of it’s Principal Investigator, Bruce Banerdt when he was a graduate student 40 years ago? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGD_YF64Nwk).
Another major theme in NASA’s repertoire for more than 15 years is the global movement of freshwater employing GRACE data (https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/167/video-for-15-years-grace-tracked-freshwater-movements-around-the-world/). The implications of such research affects every aspect of human life from health and hygiene to industry and severe weather events no matter where you live. For more on the Caribbean region, see Mitchell (2016: http://ijcar.net/assets/pdf/Vol3-No2-February2016/11.pdf).
So, as we close out 2018 and look ahead to 2019, what’s your nation’s agenda? More importantly, what’s your role in it?
A big theme for Jamaica as 2019 rolls over is to clean up the garbage by banning single use plastics like scandal bags and disposable food containers. The Jamaican government has legislated policy to effect the ban. Correspondingly, industry leaders like Island Grill, Wisynco, and Grace are leading the transition to more environmentally friendly packaging.
No matter where we live, I believe that we can all be a little more socially responsible when we choose to reduce our use, repurpose items, and recycle garbage.
Check out my long-term investment in your future at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VNPKBLds5M .
Photos courtesy of Keisha A. Mitchell, and SpaceX on Unsplash.