Last month, the U.S. Senate approved funding for a modified version of space station Freedom, and a group of volunteers, many of whom are scientists and others involved in the aerospace industry, would like to believe that the weight of their arguments played no small role in saving the project. In at least one respect they are right. Over the summer, the group, calling itself the Space Station Freedom Fighters, collected more than 30,000 signatures on petitions calling for renewal of the station; the combined weight of the petitions was more than 15 pounds. The grass- roots organization says that signatures were obtained in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the group, it was the largest demonstration of public support for a spacecraft since "Star Trek" fans named the first space shuttle after the Enterprise.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation has established two new parallel...

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