The United States space exploration program and those of other nations have not only expanded our knowledge of the solar system and the universe, they have greatly enhanced the lives of many people on Earth. The technological benefits to society as a result of the exploration of Mars in particular and space exploration in general have provided untold benefits to countless millions for decades. There is, however, yet another benefit that influences a new generation of space enthusiasts.
"My personal view on the greatest impact of the Mars program is in the way it can inspire people,'' said Andrew Mishkin. "When we are doing missions that are going to other planets and exploring, it is one of the few things we invest in that is actually using our potential in a positive way and showing results that we can give back to everybody. Having the Mars program in the age of the Internet where people can actually go and pull down the photos almost instantly after they have come down to Earth I just think is a major opportunity for us to inspire kids and excite people about things that can be done in science and engineering. I think that has a strong ripple effect throughout society and contributes to us having engineers and scientists in many fields.''
President Ronald Reagan established the National Commission on Space in 1984. The Commission published its findings in Pioneering the Space Frontier in January 1986. The Shuttle Challenger disaster overshadowed this report's release and its visionary goals for America's future in space. (NASA)
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