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Is Green Technology The New Space Race?

With the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing upon us, Earth Eats' Cory Barker looks at what could be this generation's Apollo program.

the sputnik satellite in a museum

Photo: sofafort (flickr)

Could the pursuit of green technology be this generation's "space race"?

sputnik by sofafort on flickr

Photo: sofafort/Flickr

As many of you have surely noticed, much media attention this week has been dedicated to celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first successful manned mission to the moon. In 1969, the United States (and by extension, the world) was obsessed with the “space race”.

I can picture the people at the time being proud, optimistic for the future and interested in where space exploration was going to take us – both literally and figuratively. And though the shuttle program may not have been as successful as some would have hoped over the years, it’s hard to deny all of the great technology and gadgets created by spin offs from NASA’s work.

A New, Greener Space Race?

Thinking about the current state of things in the United States, it’s clear to me that maybe we need something like space exploration to galvanize the public in support of some larger issues.

Personally, I’d love for the 2009 “space exploration” to be more space exploration, that doesn’t look to be a major focus right now (even with a “plan” to go back to the moon by 2020), and maybe for good reason. The shuttle program is ending, NASA is laying people off, etc.

Don’t we need something that can give us hope for a better future, something that we can look at and think, “that could really change the world”? Couldn’t that “thing” be green technology?

Calls For Investment In Green Technology

In recent days, some officials have been calling for exactly this, including the Mayor of Los Angeles, and it makes a lot of sense.

It’s no secret that we face loads of issues related to climate change, energy consumption and pollution, just to name a few. And it’s also no secret that the Obama administration is dedicated to creating and pushing green initiatives as a part of the stimulus plan.

The wheels are certainly turning and people are opening their eyes to these issues, but maybe solar power just isn’t quite as sexy as walking on the moon.

If there could be a way to get more lawmakers and citizens on board with green industry as we were with the mission to the moon, it could be a beautiful thing. There were would be job creation, a revitalization of the economy and the possible end of our reliance on foreign oil.

Plus, the United States could solidify our standing as one of the world’s great scientific superpowers, just like we were back forty years ago.

Oh, and it would go a long way in saving the world too.

Cory Barker

Cory Barker is a summer intern for Earth Eats and senior IU student from Hartford City, Indiana. He is double majoring in journalism and communication and culture with a minor in business.

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