Press Release

Columbia is lost and, with the rest of the U.S. and the world, your National Space Society grieves

By SpaceRef Editor
February 6, 2003
Filed under , ,

The seven men and women of Columbia represented the best in us. They died
pursuing their dream, and our dream, pushing back the frontiers of science
and hastening the day when more of us can live and work in space.

In the past few days NSS members have turned to each other for comfort,
asking what more we could have done to prevent this accident and what we must
now do to make future space flights as safe as possible. Many have found it
helpful to offer their knowledge and experience to their neighbors
individually and to the public generally. Probably you have seen, heard, or
read some of the many interviews by NSS Governors and Directors, such as Buzz
Aldrin, Jim Lovell, Harrison Schmitt, Hugh Downs and Alan Ladwig, or the
letters written to newspapers by our many chapter activists.

Many of you have asked NSS HQ what you, too, might do to bring some meaning
to this sad event. We are writing to suggest a few things.

First, on the NSS website (, you can add your name to a formal
petition to the Government to continue the human exploration, development,
and settlement of space. This is important so we can demonstrate the strong
public support of human space exploration, so please sign the petition and
forward it to your friends and family.

Second, as we have seen a lot of frightened or shortsighted people stridently
demanding the discontinuation of the human space program, you could write a
letter to your local newspaper expressing our need to keep humans in space,
get the shuttles flying again, and accelerate the development of the next
generation of spacecraft — these are the basics before we can continue our
progress back to the Moon and on to Mars — or any other thoughts you have
regarding Columbia or space exploration. The important thing is to share with
your community your sorrow and the importance of continuing to pursue the
space vision that we shared with Columbia’s crew. Responses to a particular
anti-space letter are especially likely to be published. For your
information, appended is copy of NSS’s formal statement, issued by our new
Executive Director Brian Chase. If you do write, please email a copy to
[email protected], with “Columbia-NSS” in the subject line.

Third, for those who would like to make a more tangible contribution to
continuing the legacy of the Columbia, NSS is accepting donations that NSS
will use to vigorously promote the continuation — and the expansion — of
our space efforts. You can make a contribution in honor of the Space Shuttle
Columbia astronauts on the NSS website at

Perhaps participating with others in the NSS family in some of these ways
will help ease the sadness and give you some measure of satisfaction in
helping complete the Columbia’s mission. And if we don’t help “keep the dream
alive,” who will?

If you have any questions or there is anything we can do for you, please do
not hesitate to write us at [email protected]

SpaceRef staff editor.