The Renegade Rip

First Person: Space exploration must continue despite tragic loss of shuttle Columbia

Jarrod M. Graham

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the stars.
Not the kind you find in Hollywood, but those little twinkling points of light way up in the night sky.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to hop on a rocket and go explore those little points of light. I wanted to visit the other planets in the solar system.
I read books about red giants, white dwarves and black holes, and the origins of our universe. I was, and still am, an avid watcher of “Star Trek.”
I’ve always been drawn to the mystery of space. When you think about its vastness, you can’t resist the urge to find out more about it.
It was in the pursuit of that mission that the crew of the space shuttle Columbia died during re-entry.
I was heartbroken when I heard the news. I couldn’t believe it, and I didn’t want to believe it.
Some have criticized the media for calling the astronauts heroes. But in a time when the sound of war drums are all around us and nations are threatening to blast each other off the face of the Earth, the crew of Columbia was up there conducting scientific experiments, working toward the betterment of the human race. They died in the name of science, which is indeed a high and noble cause worthy of the label “heroic.”
The space shuttle program must go on. We owe it to the memory of the astronauts and to all the children out there who dream of touching the stars to continue nurturing our quest for knowledge.
We must not let our spirit of discovery die with Columbia.

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The news site of Bakersfield College
First Person: Space exploration must continue despite tragic loss of shuttle Columbia