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My views on John Young flying again...

While most of the people I've spoken with agree that John Young should be assigned another spaceflight, it seems that most of the arguments in favor of his flying again tend to indicate that he should be "given" a "free seat" because of all the years that he's put into the program. I don't think I agree with that concept. The implication seems to be that Capt. Young would only be able to "go along for the ride." Now, I don't pretend to know what the physical and mental requirements for mission commander or pilot are - nor do I pretend to know if Capt. Young can meet those requirements. But I do know that he has the experience, and the knowledge, and the willingness to put in the hard work necessary for a successful mission. And, if appearances are any indication, he's capable of doing much more than filling an unoccupied seat.

John W. Young

"Survival of the species - that's what it's all about..."
John Young, Mars Society Convention
August 14, 1998

In my opinion, John Young's 35+ years with NASA shouldn't be viewed as a reason to give him a "free ride." He should be viewed as an asset to the space program, someone with an enormous amount of knowledge and experience. Thirty-five years doesn't necessarily mean that someone is ready for a gold watch - sometimes it means that they're more valuable than they've ever been.

People argue that NASA needs to generate more public interest if they ever hope to progress with space exploration. Who would be better at resurrecting the excitement of the Apollo days than John Young?

"...I'm just an ol' out-of-work lunar geologist, and I wanna go back..."
- John Young, Mars Society Convention - August 14, 1998

He brings believability to the idea of humans exploring other worlds, because he has walked on another world.

He brings credibility , because the public knows that his words and actions are driven not by politics and corporate pressures, but by a genuine belief in the space program and what it can accomplish for the good of humans all over the world.

He provides a sense of reach-ability - a belief that other worlds and the stars can be within our reach. Here is someone who has repeatedly taken it "one step further" from Gemini through the Space Shuttle - repeatedly shown that with hard work and perseverance we can accomplish anything we want. What better example for today's young people?

And he brings the excitement - he lives the excitement - and it's infectious... If you don't believe me, just go to one of his talks. Watch the crowd as he speaks. Hang around afterwards and listen to the comments by the people as they leave. It doesn't have to be a scientific/space oriented crowd - Capt. Young can turn someone with little to no interest in science into a space-program-believer in 30 minutes. So, if NASA needs some good PR - well, his name is John Young.

"I was working on an exhibition of Moon rock at the Museum of Flight and was privileged enough to meet John Young. When he saw that we had samples from Apollo 16 he stopped and took a few minutes to talk with me about both Lunar geology and the local geology around Edinburgh (I'm a geology student who started studying geology because I was inspired by these guys, and we told him this!!). He made a wonderful comment about his sample gathering on the Moon: "We just ran around grabbing everything we could as quick as we could".

He is the nicest guy you ever met, and NASA couldn't have a better ambassador."
Stuart Forbes

I have no idea if Capt. Young is even interested in flying again, but... It seems to me that he is more than capable of playing a useful - no, a valuable - role on a space mission.

So, yes, I think Capt. Young should get another flight; not because he should be repayed for what he's done in the past, but because of what he can accomplish for us now - because we still need him.

"At a time when America desperately needs her heroes, John Young stands among the tallest and best."
- Ronald J. Wilson

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