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Re: Discovery Project: Which Mission Next?



First let me say that I believe that limiting the use of amateur radio
sytems to one group or the other (ham operators or students) isn't the right
way to go.  My ultimate view of amateur radio is that it's openly accessable
to everyone, which is one of the hobbies finer attributes, IMHO.  That being
said:

I, for one, would have to say that I would pass up my oportunity to
communicate with an Astronaut to let a child have the chance, ESPECIALLY if
my making a contact meant that one less child would have the chance.  Here's
why:

At 35 years of age my path has been (at least partially) set.  It's way too
late for me to entertain dreams of being an astronaut, and to be honest,
it's probably a little too late for me to be thinking of making a MAJOR
carrer change like going into any kind of space science.  As far as I'm
concerned, 4+ more years of school and starting at the bottom of the food
chain again just isn't an option at my age.

BUT...  That One Kid.  All that kid needs is a little spark to light the
fire.  One incident to form the interest or get them excited about
something, and they could be off on the path to make huge contributions to
whatever field they choose (not to mention becoming a ham, and possibly
making huge contributions to the hobby).  Granted, most of those kids in
class will enjoy it, find it interesting, talk about it at home a few times,
then almost completely forget it, but there's always That One Kid.

I'd settle for being the one helping those kids use the equipment in a
classroom, just so I could have a chance of witnessing that spark getting
planted in That One Kid.

So, I think Jon and I are mostly in agreement on the issue (I think?).
Contacting an astronaut would be pretty cool for us old men, but we
definitely need to keep the special programs going for the kids, even if
means our own exclusion, because it can have a much more long lasting effect
on the kids, and ultimately us by way of the kids.

73/
Samuel, W7YYY


Jon Ogden said:

Why is a child more deserving of a contact with an astronaut then an adult?
Personally, I've always dreamed of traveling into space and it would be one
of the greatest fulfillments of a lifetime to do so.  I still have that
boyhood dream in me.  Unfortunately, the way NASA takes such baby steps with
space travel at this point in time (and for good reason or so I think), I
likely will not be able to fulfill that dream in my lifetime.  So being able
to communicate with an astronaut is just as much of a thrill for me as it is
to a child.  I am not saying we shouldn't do experiments for schools and
special things and so forth.  We should.  But we should also open it up to
those of us who also get special delights out of such things.  The original
poster had proposed AMSAT spend basically a fortune to put some hardware on
the moon and then limit it to broadcasting telemetry for educational use.
If AMSAT were to spend the money I give them on a project like that, then
I'd resign my membership in a heartbeat.  It's fine to have demos for kids,
but if we are going to spend money on stuff then let's make it available to
everyone, adults included.

I see through the pipe just fine.

73,

Jon
NA9D

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