Will the Space Program Come Down to Earth?
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President Obama is trying to promote his vision for human space flight today. Opponents claim he has no vision at all. Will cancelling a return to the Moon mean getting to Mars both cheaper and faster? Also, tea parties around the country are protesting today against the income tax, even though 52 million working Americans won't pay anything at all.
Banner image: During the STS-131 mission's first spacewalk, astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson (out of frame) moved a new 1,700-pound ammonia tank from space shuttle Discovery's cargo bay to a temporary parking place on the station, retrieved an experiment from the Japanese Kibo Laboratory exposed facility and replaced a Rate Gyro Assembly on one of the truss segments. Photo: NASA
Volcanic Eruption in Iceland Closes Airports in Northwest Europe ()
Airports in Britain, Scandinavia and other parts of northwestern Europe are shut down today and thousands of flights have been cancelled. It's all because of a cloud of ash that's moving toward continental Europe from the erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. We hear how the eruption has grounded air traffic from David Brown, who reports for the Times of London, and Peter Markovski, deputy news editor at Norway's Aftenposten.
Obama's Vision for US Space Exploration ()
George W. Bush cancelled the Space Shuttle program. Now Barack Obama wants to cancel Bush's plan for going back to the Moon, at least for the moment. That's provoked a battle over the budget for NASA featuring a public relations blitz by heroes of space exploration 40 years ago, who warn that the cancellation means an end to America's domination of space exploration. Some members of both political parties agree. But supporters say the President's budget has been the victim of lousy public relations. In Florida today, he outlined a plan to explore new worlds with new, privately developed technology, with the ultimate goal of getting humans to Mars. Can space entrepreneurs do it cheaper and faster than government scientists and engineers? What about jobs in California, Texas, Alabama and Florida?
- Robert Block: NASA Reporter, Orlando Sentinel
- Jeff Greason: President, XCOR Aerospace
- Scott Pace: Director, George Washington University's Space Policy Institute
- Jonathan McDowell: Astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, @planet4589
Record Number of Americans Will Pay No Income Tax ()
On this day when federal income taxes are due, the Tea Party Patriots have organized some 600 protests all over the country. Participants might be surprised to learn that a record number of people won't pay income taxes at all. While nearly 142 million Americans will file tax returns this year, a record number will get back every dollar that's been withheld by the federal government. That's according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. Scott Hodge is President.
- Scott Hodge: President, Tax Foundation
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