NASA exhibit expands horizons of residents Editorial

Posted: Friday, September 12, 2003

Imagine airliners in space. Hotel resorts on the moon. Research stations on Mars. Space travel that's as routine, affordable and safe as today's commercial air flights. Asteroid mining. Solar electric power beamed from space. On demand human access to space.

Those are just a few of goals the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is working toward. While they may sound farfetched, one only has to look at some of the science and technology advances made in the past 40 years to realize advances in the next 40 years certainly could make NASA's vision much more than science fiction.

NASA is stretching the horizons of Kenai Peninsula residents this week with the visit of Starship 2040.

Starship 2040 is NASA's idea of what commercial space flight might be like in four decades. While it tickles the imagination of young minds, the exhibit also brings the message that a strong understanding of science, technology, mathematics and engineering is needed by those who want to be part of space exploration.

But, adults, don't get the idea that this is just kid stuff. The exhibit also is open to you. While Starship 2040 was created to inspire children to dream of a future in space, it also is intended to excite all those who visit about future space travel technologies, as well as present-day space research applications.

This is the final day Starship 2040 will be based behind the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai. School groups will tour the exhibit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; it will be open to the general public from 3 to 5 p.m. The exhibit is free.

Hats off to all those who played a role in landing the Starship in Kenai. It's a great way to get a glimpse of the future.

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