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  6-year-old Colorado boy petitions to "save NASA"

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Author Topic:   6-year-old Colorado boy petitions to "save NASA"
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29165
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-09-2013 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A 6-year-old who dreams of being an astronaut for NASA has taken matters into his own hands by starting an online petition to try and save NASA, NBC Denver affiliate KUSA-TV reports.
Connor Johnson has wanted to be an astronaut since he was three. When he learned that congress was threatening his future prospects to be a scientist or astronaut with NASA by cutting NASA's funding, he decided to do something about it.

"My whole idea was writing off to the President and then I decided to give my whole piggy bank to NASA. I have about $10.41," Johnson said.

However, after talking to his family members about the issue, Johnson decided he needed to find a more effective way to reach NASA.

His family helped him start a petition. Although he did have some guidance, Johnson constructed the petition ideas on his own.

Sign the petition: Increase NASA funding. So we can discover new worlds, protect us from danger and to make dreams come true.

p51
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Posts: 976
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 12-09-2013 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cute as this story is, online petitions carry almost zero weight with anyone you're trying to influence. Look up the term, "slactivism" to see what I mean.

Writing to your lawmakers (written letters are best) is the best use of your time.

cspg
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Posts: 4499
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 12-09-2013 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't read NASA Watch...

Ronpur
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Posts: 434
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 12-09-2013 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Zero weight or not, I signed it. Writing to my congressmen never seamed to help either. If I remember right, if it gets 100,000 signatures, it must be addressed by the White House.

JBoe
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Posts: 360
From: Edgewater, MD, USA
Registered: Oct 2012

posted 12-10-2013 06:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBoe   Click Here to Email JBoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it's a great project. Not only is he learning the Civics aspect, but he's showing tenacity in what he's very interested in. If he doesn't get the 100,000 signatures by the end of the month I'm sure he'll continue his petition.

Cozmosis22
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Posts: 343
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 12-10-2013 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fortunately this fine lad is young enough to get over his disappointment quickly once this exercise in tilting at windmills is over. Bless him, his heart is in the right place.

Maybe in another 20 years manned space exploration will get back on track. Until then he should study his math and science and be content with looking at space through a telescope.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29165
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-12-2013 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Connor Johnson's petition attracted the attention of Gene Cernan, 9news.com reports.
"I am an astronaut. This is Gene Cernan calling. I'm the last person to have walked on the moon," Cernan told Connor.

Connor's eyes lit up and he had a huge smile on his face while a living legend spoke with him about dreams coming true and never giving up.

Cernan said he sees so much of Connor in himself. Cernan says he was once that little boy who dared to dream of becoming an astronaut. Despite the uncertain times NASA finds itself in, he wants to encourage Connor to never give up on his vision.

"There's two things you have to do to go to the moon. You've got to dream about things that a lot of other people think you can't do," Cernan said.

Cernan and his generation proved that you can reach the moon. Now, he says, it's up to Connor and his generation to take us beyond that.

p51
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Posts: 976
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 12-12-2013 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's of course great that Cernan called him, but I can't help recall the 'heavy hitters' of the Apollo program (including Armstrong) at that congressional hearing a while back calling for renewed interest and funding for NASA. Really, a 6-year-old has no hope over that.

Seriously, a strong demonstration of VAST public support for the program, communicated to lawmakers, is really the thing that'll work, if anything will. I know a internet petition is an easy thing to click, but anyone who knows anything about government at the DC level will snicker at the idea that an internet petition could accomplish much. Yeah, the White House ones have a response if they exceed an amount. That only means some staff-level flunkie has to write up a response. I know, because a good friend of mine is one of those flunkies.

I know someone on the staff of a congressman and he's made it really clear that nobody on the hill take internet petitions seriously at all.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29165
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-12-2013 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
...but anyone who knows anything about government at the DC level will snicker at the idea that an internet petition could accomplish much.
Having worked a bit on Capitol Hill, I don't share your perspective. I too know staffers, and they do pay attention to petitions of both the paper and digital variety.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of faith in Connor's efforts being the rallying call for change, but not because petitions don't work. Were the political landscape different, I think his simple message could find resonance in Washington. But his effort comes at a time when there is very little support, if not also the basic ability to agree on increasing funding for anything, let alone the space program.

On edit: NBC's Brian Williams just shared Connor's petition and the call he received from Gene Cernan on the Nightly News.

Tykeanaut
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Posts: 1811
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 12-14-2013 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The kid has more intelligence than the politicians.

BMacKinnon
Member

Posts: 159
From: Waterford, MI. USA
Registered: Jul 2007

posted 12-15-2013 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMacKinnon   Click Here to Email BMacKinnon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Even if we agree that it probably won't work, why not sign the petition and see what happens?

The more we talk about space and the more we share with our friends outside of the space enthusiast community the more support we can generate for it.

Sign it and share it with friends (on Facebook and other social media sites) — it wouldn't hurt to help make one kids inspiration help to inspire others! Heck, maybe Connor will be a future cS member someday!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29165
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-15-2014 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex release
6-Year-Old Boy Visits Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to Continue Fulfilling His ‘Mission’ of Saving NASA, Becoming an Astronaut

Dreams do come true. Six-year old Connor Johnson, Denver, Colo., met with astronauts, trained like an astronaut, saw space vehicles and explored the future of space exploration at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex this weekend (March 14-15).

In December 2013, Connor launched an online petition to save NASA's funding from budget cuts. Since the age of three, he has dreamed of becoming an astronaut to discover new worlds and asteroids.

Connor continued his dream of becoming an astronaut as a guest of the Visitor Complex. He and his family made their first visit to the space center to explore the hands-on activities and robot demonstrations at the Robot Rocket Rally, see the new Space Shuttle AtlantisSM, enjoy Lunch With An Astronaut, featuring space shuttle astronaut Sam Durrance and encounter the Astronaut Training Experience, with space shuttle astronaut Mike McCulley.

Robot Rocket Rally is being held to celebrate NASA's robotic marvels, including the engineering model of Robonaut's legs that will be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on an upcoming mission.

NASA Kennedy Space Center Director and astronaut Robert Cabana presented a bolt from the ISS and mission patch to inspire the youngster during a ceremony held at the Rocket Garden.

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