President Obama shares third-year's letter with NASA officials
Third-year College student Isaac Larkin, a biochemistry major from Los Gatos, Calif., watched the Curiosity space rover land on Mars in August with the same awe and joy that many people in NASA headquarters showed during the televised event.
Larkin fired off a congratulatory letter to President Barack Obama that got the attention of the administration. Larkin wrote in favor of funding such projects, arguing that scientific expeditions have powerful unifying effects for the country. The White House quickly shared his message with NASA’s Planetary Science Division Director James Green, who read the letter at a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, Sept. 24.
Having his voice included in the national discussion on the future of the space program was “a great honor,” Larkin said.
Here is the full text of Larkin’s letter:
Dear President Obama,
I just wanted to let you know how much Curiosity’s successful landing on Mars means to me. The fact that ANY organization in the world could send a 1-ton mobile research platform to Mars and land it safely, much less using a hovering, rocket-propelled sky crane, is a triumph of human intelligence, civilization and cooperation. The fact that it was our National Aeronautics and Space Administration makes me more proud to be an American than anything has in a long time. What truly inspires me about this mission, however, is not the flawless success the NASA scientists and engineers achieved last night, or the staggering technological advances that have been fueled by similar exploration. Rather, it is the unbridled joy and unity that I have seen on the faces of the crying, hugging members of Mission Control, in countless celebratory Internet posts, and in excited conversation with people this morning. I am 20 years old, and the only times I can remember feeling as close to my fellow Americas as I do now have been during national tragedies. The unifying effect of scientific expeditions like the Curiosity and the Apollo landings is incredibly powerful, all the more so because it is born of out of triumphant national success, rather than sorrow. Please, continue to fund NASA and its expeditions. In so many ways, we lift ourselves up when we shoot for the stars.
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