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Posted at 6:44 PM ET, 04/ 7/2010

Helping children reach for the stars

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Dan Cohen
Silver Spring

Regarding the April 2 Metro article “A Space Age remnant?”:

An Arlington native and Yorktown High School graduate, astronaut David Brown was extremely accomplished. He was a medical doctor, a naval aviator, a scientist, an astronaut and an aspiring filmmaker. He loved challenge and set high goals for himself.

Mr. Brown lost his life in 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia exploded on its return to Earth. He had just completed one of his greatest adventures, conducting science in space. When the Arlington County schools renamed their planetarium in honor of Mr. Brown, it sent a message to schoolchildren: Reach for the stars, and you will be rewarded with knowledge beyond our planet.

Today, the planetarium is in danger of being closed, the victim of budget cuts. This place of learning and inspiration will no longer be within reach of schoolchildren who come to witness the wonders of the stars.

A group of citizens has mobilized to create a public and private partnership to help fund the planetarium, not only to keep it running but also to provide some upgrades. The group is asking the School Board for a little time to put its plan together, but convincing the board has been tough. If the planetarium is closed, without even trying a creative solution, what kind of message does this send to our children, among whom may be the next David Brown?

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By washingtonpost.com editors  | April 7, 2010; 6:44 PM ET
Categories:  Arlington, HotTopic, schools  | Tags:  Arlington County Virginia, David Brown, Planetariums  
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