Should Gabrielle Giffords' husband cancel his space flight?

Astronaut Mark Kelly will command his upcoming space mission as planned, and says his injured wife would be "very comfortable" with his choice. Others question his decision

Mark Kelly may be leaving Gabrielle Giffords' side, but the astronaut says his wife would approve and may be well enough to attend the April launch.
(Image credit: Getty)

Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has announced that he will resume training for his scheduled two-week mission in April as commander of the space shuttle Endeavour. Giffords is undergoing what is expected to be a lengthy rehabilitation after being shot in the head last month, but Kelly says his wife would be "very comfortable" with his decision, and he expects her to be at the launch. Kelly suggested that his critics "don't understand" his wife's condition and "don't know what she would want." Is Kelly right, or would he be better off staying by his wife's side? (Watch Mark Kelly prepare for launch)

She needs him now, and in the future: "I am not criticizing Kelly," says Gary Davis at Associated Content. "I just don't understand" his decision. I couldn't do the same if it was my wife. We're not privy to details about Giffords's condition, but Kelly must know that his wife could well need long-term care. What if something happens to him? Still, we are "lucky to have people like Giffords and Kelly. These are people who cannot ignore the greater tasks" that humankind has to do.

"Mark Kelly opts to command flight; Giffords' input unclear"

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This could help Giffords — and the nation: Kelly's planned return to space "could be a boost to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's recovery — and help the nation cope with the Tucson shooting rampage that left her severely wounded," says Catalina Camia in USA Today. Giffords's therapy can continue even if her husband is not there, and she may even feel better seeing the people around her return to their routines. Kelly's decision is a sign that Giffords is doing well enough for him to go back to NASA.

"Mark Kelly's spaceflight could boost Giffords"

Let's not overdramatize this: Kelly's decision has "taken on larger-than-normal proportions," say the editors of the Arizona Daily Star, as "people seek reassurance that some degree of normalcy is settling back in." Kelly's choice "does not, as some have asserted, indicate a disregard for the people who were murdered or those injured by bullets." Those of us in Tucson still remember those who were killed or injured, but "our shared sorrow must not keep us from looking forward."

"Tucson pleased that Kelly will command shuttle"

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