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Panel laments status of space exploration
Posted: Wed, Sep 25, 2002, 10:41 AM ET (1441 GMT)
A panel of experts, including former astronauts, authors, and space tourists, said in Houston Monday that the American public has lost interest in space exploration and more needs to be done to generate enthusiasm for space, particularly among the young. The discussion, held to mark the 40th anniversary of President Kennedyís famous speech at Rice University, discussed how the publicís interest in space exploration had dropped since the 1960s. Arthur C. Clarke, speaking via telephone from Sri Lanka, said that today even the US cannot do space exploration alone, requiring instead "a global enterprise." Former astronaut Gene Cernan said that more should be done to open space flight to private citizens, even allowing children to fly and encourage greater interest in space. Dennis Tito, the first commercial space tourist, said that he believes more people will fly if the price goes down, allowing spaceflight to "become more a part of our culture."
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