karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
[personal profile] karnerblue
"On the shoulders of the space shuttle, America will continue the dream."

With these words, the space shuttle Atlantis blasted off this morning, beginning the final NASA shuttle mission.

I watched every moment of it, glued to the NASA TV feed online. And I must say, when Atlantis lifted off, I teared up a bit, watching it streak skyward.

I think we've all gotten far too jaded by the space shuttle. After all, I've never known a time when we weren't routinely sending astronauts up into space on shuttle missions. We've hardly been paying attention to space missions anymore, except when they go horribly, disastrously wrong, like Challenger and Columbia.

But think about it. We humans, we Americans, developed a ship, a ship that we can fire into space, with people on board! And we can bring them back, and then reuse that ship! When you think about the history of the human race, and the fact that gravity is a really powerful force that keeps us all bound to the earth's surface, and the fact that humans only figured out how to fight that force at all, for any length of time, about a hundred years ago... it's pretty amazing.

It's going to be sad to see these missions end. It's sad to think that no more kids will grow up to become space shuttle astronauts. And it's sad to see this great nation have to rely on the Russians and their inferior craft (and it is inferior) to continue our work at the International Space Station, when once, we were the pioneers of space exploration, the ones who built the first spacecraft, the ones who sent the first humans to the moon.

I can only hope that within my lifetime, something even better will replace the space shuttle, some new, innovative, more advanced craft that we can use to go onward and upward to greater things.
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karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)

July 2012

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