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SPACE EXPLORATION IS A GOOD INVESTMENT

There has been criticism of the Mars Pathfinder mission on the grounds that the money could have been better spent on other things, such as medical research. When it comes to the history of scientific and technological developments, Americans as a whole are grossly illiterate.

The central theme in nature as well as in physical science is that everything is "connected" to everything else. Historical examples of this are as follows:

Studying the rusting of steel ultimately led to the invention of the transistor; studying the distortion of steel plates led to the mathematics that Albert Einstein employed in general relativity; in 1840 the German physician Robert J. Mayer got the idea for the first law of thermodynamics while studying the blood of his patients; Michael Faraday's simple experiments in electromagnetism started a chain of events that led to the discovery of radio, special relativity and the atomic bomb; scientists studying the effects of electricity on bacteria discovered Cisplatin, a leading anti-cancer drug; and Louis Pasteur, a chemist, laid the foundations of bacteriology.

History is filled with examples of seemingly unconnected things being connected. America must always remain a nation that continually extends its frontiers. Otherwise we will stop growing.

The secret of "life" revolves around ion and molecular migration through membranes. Zero-gravity conditions provide us with another perspective on this pivotal process.

The space exploration program is a good investment. We never know where the next great scientific discovery or technological development will come from. Space exploration is something that we must be able to afford.

Minas Ensanian Buffalo

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