Today marks the 50th anniversary of Mercury Atlas 6 or better know as Friendship 7. It is both a joyous and a disappointing milestone. Friendship 7 was the first mission to put an American into complete orbit. That man was John H. Glenn Jr. whom was in flight for 4 hours and 56 minutes. Glenn has been a pioneer in the space program and has really been a great asset to understanding the frontier. He had become the third man in space saying the words “Zero-G and I feel fine… Man, that view is tremendous.” Many criticism arose when three decades later he would be offered another flight being the oldest human in space. This was viewed by many as a political stunt but in all reality was a great scientific outlook at the future. It gave us a look at two separate flights by the same person about 30 years apart in were we can see the outcome and toll on the human body.
The Friendship 7 flight was a great milestone that lead the way to the Apollo missions and to many more probes to other planets. However today we actually are worse off then bad in 1962 because if anything we have gone backwards. We have gotten rid of the shuttle programs with no new carrier craft for our astronauts to set sail in, we have stopped going to the moon and have made no progress in the missions to Mars. This is a very depressing realization and unfortunately will take a long time to get back on our feet again to make these voyages. I remember reading popular mechanics and many other magazines about the future and living on other planets and the moon. Those colonies and the journey itself was a large outlook for many who grew up loving Star Trek. Politics of course has gotten in the way and with budget cuts comes major cuts in things that aren’t seen as necessary.
Space exploration however is needed because we are human and in my personally belief is the meaning of life is to explore. To find new wonders and new places is what humans have been doing forever and to stop progress and get into a rut with no striving mission for our country is inhuman. We must journey to new worlds and take up the space race once again to visit Mars.