by Kerry Martin
Can NASA’s smartest scientists sell enough cupcakes to make up for the proposed $300 million budget shortfall? Probably not.
But by hosting bake sales, car washes and other events on one Saturday at 20 locations across the country, students, professors and those who hold a stake in the future of the space agency are sending a unified message to lawmakers and drawing national media attention.
This is a great example of a grassroots effort that goes beyond using lobbyists or the traditional letter writing campaign. It gets the issue out in the public and engages the general population to help be a part of the solution, if only for a 75 cent brownie.
While the proceeds from the events are in no way going to come close to the million dollar figure that’s needed, there is more value in the simple gesture of offering up whatever little they have—akin to a child offering up the contents of his piggy bank. To me, these efforts elicit the same kind of sentiment that people hold for the space program itself: optimism and pride.
I encourage you to go out to an event near you tomorrow to show your support or connect with the movement on Facebook. For those of you in the Orlando area, you can stop by the UCF location and get more details here: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~con/June9/PlanetaryCarWash.html.