Thursday, July 21, 2011

Space era ends

Tonight I watched the space shuttle Atlantis touch down (screen shot at left, after it stopped). According to NASA, the nosegear touched down at 4:56:57am CDT, and the “wheelstop” was not quite two minutes later, marking the end of the US space programme.

I (vaguely) remember watching launches of Project Mercury, and I also watched Project Gemini (and I had a toy Project Gemini rocket). Then, I watched Project Apollo. The point is, the US space programme has always been part of my life, and I can’t imagine things being any different. Maybe it’s time.

There are some who think that space exploration should be left to private enterprise—as if they’d ever be interested. It’s far more likely that it will be left to multi-national cooperation. Maybe that’s as it should be—for the benefit of all humanity, and all that.

And yet, I’m still kind of sad at the end of US spaceflight. Someday, even the US will see its importance.

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