Presidential Perspectives on Space Exploration: Guiding Metaphors from Eisenhower to Bush

Presidential Perspectives on Space Exploration: Guiding Metaphors from Eisenhower to Bush

Presidential Perspectives on Space Exploration: Guiding Metaphors from Eisenhower to Bush

Presidential Perspectives on Space Exploration: Guiding Metaphors from Eisenhower to Bush

Synopsis

In this unique study of space exploration from a metaphorical perspective, Krug focuses on presidential rhetoric and the ways in which metaphors influence public understanding and opinion of the American space program. Beginning with a discussion of the significance of metaphor, the text offers a comprehensive "space chronology" of space program events and presidential responses, including John F. Kennedy's challenge to enter and win "the space race," Nixon ushering in the era of the space shuttle "work horse." and Reagan urging us to "reach for the stars."

Excerpt

Two general social themes that dominated my youth were space travel and Vietnam. My relatives are quick to note that as a young child my response to that perpetual question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" was "I want to be an astronaut!" While other kids played cowboys or army, I would transform old boxes into spaceships with elaborate control panels and windows. The television series "Star Trek" and "Lost in Space" were mandatory viewing. I was sixteen when Americans landed on the moon. For me, it was one of those special, historical events that you remember where you were and what you were doing when those fuzzy pictures revealed the lunar landscape. Although exciting, for me space travel was never the same after our landing. Although I continued to follow and support the space program with keen interest, my attention turned to domestic issues and more mundane occupations. Perhaps, for me, our nation's historic "mission" as articulated by President Kennedy was accomplished.

I must confess, however, that my childhood joy over and fascination with space travel died with the crew of the U.S. space shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986. I, like so many Americans, was watching the launch that morning. The flight was special for so many reasons. Perhaps most important was that the flight included our first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe. School children throughout America were also watching the historic launching. The impact of the disaster for me must have been similar to the impact of Kennedy's assassina-

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