In March, a panel of experts, convened by the National Research Council to advise the administration on the latest redesign of the space station Freedom, concluded that the proposed $30 billion monster was unsuited for scientific research. Surprisingly, space station proponents made little attempt to refute this harsh judgment.

In a letter to NASA administrator Richard Truly, Vice President Dan Quayle, head of the National Space Council, simply dismissed the concerns of the scientific community; science, he shrugged, is only one motivation for building a space station--and not even the most important one. In an apparent reference to the panel's concern that there would be insufficient electrical power on board for scientific experiments, Quayle wrote: "The importance of the Space Station is not in the power of its circuits; it is in the size of the dream."

There you have it. It's the dream that matters. And so it was...

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