Astronomer Appeals for U.S. Effort To Meet Russian Space Challenge
A University professor yesterday called for increased emphasis on space research to answer the challenge posed by the Soviet Venus probe.
"If the United States is to accomplish a feat like the Soviet rocket shot at Venus, the government must display a sense of urgency in space research comparable to the emphasis put on development of military weapons," Arthur E. Lilley, associate professor of Astronomy, declared.
Lilley said that the United States will not have another chance to send a space vehicle to Venus until August of 1962, and he stressed that the government will have "to utilize the time well" if it is to be ready by that date.
If the Soviet probe ultimately succeeds, it may vastly increase current knowledge of Venus, Lilley commented. If suitable instruments are on board the space station, it may be possible to uncover valuable information about the chances for life on the planet, he said.
Neither the Smithsonian Observatory nor the United States Air Force tracking center at Hanscom Field would give any specific information about the Soviet project. A spokesman for the Smithsonian said that the Observatory is not tracking the space station at present because, as yet, there is no research interest in the project.