Earlier today, Atlantis lifted off in what is NASA's final shuttle flight of its thirty year program. The general scientific consensus seems to be a begrudging admission that the shuttle program achieved mixed results overall. I'm no scientist, so I can't chime in one way or the other intelligibly, but the idea of humans journeying into space was always cool and admirable to me, regardless of the mission.
I wonder where NASA goes from here? It seems like the wise money will be spent on unmanned probes and satellites and on things like the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which looks like it's going to replace The Hubble.
I'd like to see the government spend more on research into interstellar space flight. I know that we theoretically can't travel faster than light, but it'd be good to be able to reach some of these potentially habitable exoplanets in a reasonable, and practical, amount of time. Call it manifest destiny if you want, but I think it's imperative the human race colonize other, already habitable worlds. Because the odds are long we'll be able to effectively terraform any of the other bodies in our solar system, and as a species we don't want to keep all our eggs in one basket. If you've read The Road, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
4 days ago