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Thread: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

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    Default NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    From eWeek.com:

    Early in the predawn Florida darkness, the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down on Earth for the last time and braked to a stop. After a while, the crew of Atlantis boarded their bus back to their quarters, said a few words, and left America’s last Shuttle to the museum curators. Eventually, Atlantis will join other space stuff as part of a giant tourist attraction, showing generations of kids what might have been.
    It's finally done. The end of the shuttle program also marks the end of John F. Kennedy's audacious mission: "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not only because they are easy, but because they are hard." 50 years after Alan Shepard became the first American in space, NASA's last manned flight concluded, marking the space quest's untimely end.

    To be fair, many have argued that space flights will continue, albeit aboard commercial shuttles and Russian crafts. If this idea plays out, the U.S. government will save a significant amount of money, while companies profit from consumers' travel and entertainment wishes and Russia shoulders any remaining monetary burdens on more prospective exploration. Given the current state of the U.S. economy, such a move may hold certain benefits. Furthermore, unmanned flights will continue for years to come, allowing scientists to continue some of the research that has been in development for the last five decades.

    It's unclear, however, whether companies are really ready to begin their own shuttle programs any time soon. Russia's monopoly on manned space flight in the meantime has many in the industry worried, especially since Russia's government could charge the U.S. exorbitant prices to reserve a seat -- effectively negating any economic savings from NASA's lack of manned flights -- and it has signaled to some that America's superpower position is in decline. Furthermore, the situation is a veritable death sentence for many firms that specifically catered to astronauts' unique needs, and it's also troubling for the tourism-reliant Cape Canaveral.

    So, what are your thoughts on all this? What effect does the end of this program have on the youth of today and the dream of space exploration for tomorrow? How does it effect the U.S. and global economy, and what does it do to the global political framework? Perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to you?
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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    ...Far too many references!! You're like the Swiss army knife of discussion.

    It doesn't affect me too much because I was born in an age where space travel was old hat, and unless you were particularly into astronomy (logy?), you didn't pay it much mind. The program's end would have gone right over my head, had my favorite voice actor, Rob Paulsen, not been gushing about it on his podcast.

    No... In my book, the most important space development in my time is the removal of Pluto as a planet. That shit messes with your youth, man. Next you'll tell me there was no such thing as a brontosaurus...

    ...Oh, damn.
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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_pikachu View Post
    Given the current state of the U.S. economy, such a move may hold certain benefits.
    I agree - I think cutting that kind of cost right now can only be a beneficial move for the overall economy.

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    ...Far too many references!! You're like the Swiss army knife of discussion.
    This is one of the most amazing similes I've ever read. I want to sig it but it would then sound like it was referring to me, which is inaccurate. Damn.
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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Tomorrow never knows. I sincerely hope this is only a temporary halt in what is to be far greater cosmic conquests in the future. I understand that internally fiscal problems created by our own foolish mistakes need be rectified, but to perceive that it ranks higher than the mysteries of the universe and what humanity need achieve is, once more, an illustration of our deluded self-importance and instant, asinine desires.

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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    When I was a kid, I loved astronomy, but I'm glad I didn't go into it as a field now.

    We need to spend that money elsewhere. There are far too many perfectly capable but broke-ass people in America to worry about spending billions on a space program. Our kids need education more importantly, and we need to find a way to create jobs here rather than send them all elsewhere.
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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Ten bucks says the money we'll save by shutting down the space program isn't going to anything of use to this country.

    I see this as a step backwards, honestly. The space trips may not be of much use, but NASA has patented so much shit from trying to figure out those space trips that it's crazy. Halting progress now just makes no sense to me.

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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Holy Shit I agree with Blade! We spend pennies on NASA compared to other programs, infact I would be willing to spend more under the hopes that we can reach Mars. There is far more important things we can cut than NASA, especially when it means relinquishing control of space to up and coming countries like Iran and China.

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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Quote Originally Posted by Magmar View Post
    When I was a kid, I loved astronomy, but I'm glad I didn't go into it as a field now.

    We need to spend that money elsewhere. There are far too many perfectly capable but broke-ass people in America to worry about spending billions on a space program. Our kids need education more importantly, and we need to find a way to create jobs here rather than send them all elsewhere.
    We're not going to educate our kids any better and we're not going to create more jobs by nickel-and-diming the space program into oblivion. What are we going to educate our kids about if we're not showing them where humanity is headed next, showing them what steps we're taking to get there? We've traveled the bottom of the ocean, touched the sky at the peak of Mt. Everest, we've split the atom and walked on the moon... we have to keep going. There's plenty to discover here, but that doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye to the majesty happening over our heads. For every item down on Earth, there's ten million more above the delirious burning blue. We're in desperate need of the inspiration. We need to inflame hearts and stir souls. To me, that's worth the money spent, even on the rockets that blow up.

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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Quote Originally Posted by shazza View Post
    Tomorrow never knows. I sincerely hope this is only a temporary halt in what is to be far greater cosmic conquests in the future. I understand that internally fiscal problems created by our own foolish mistakes need be rectified, but to perceive that it ranks higher than the mysteries of the universe and what humanity need achieve is, once more, an illustration of our deluded self-importance and instant, asinine desires.
    This.

    I get the immediate need for economic relief, and this will probably have some impact on the budget, however slight. Unfortunately, I doubt that the pittance this will save will actually go to something useful, as Blade indicated. It's more likely that we'll spend just as much playing hitchhiker with the Russian space program as we did commanding our own shuttles.

    Even if the money saved did make a difference, was it really necessary to completely dismantle the shuttle program? I would have rather seen funding temporarily reduced, even to the point where NASA just worked to maintain its craft rather than take on missions. We probably wouldn't be having this conversation if it was treated as a shorter-term budget issue instead of the Constellation program's outright cancellation.

    Disappointing, to be sure, that we've given up the dream so easily. I think it says something about the heart in our society today....
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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbcl View Post
    For every item down on Earth, there's ten million more above the delirious burning blue.
    Not even close. If every unknown discovery on this entire planet were simultaneously found and counted out, and then combined with all KNOWN discoveries and laid out, the known Universe alone would no doubt provide us with a thousand trillion trillion trillion new sights to see, discoveries to make, puzzles to solve, and questions to answer.

    (Spoiler:) The UNKNOWN Universe would then multiply that number by almost 7, according to our CURRENT estimates. Imagine how big it'd be theorized to be by then...

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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Yeah, but once you get into the triple trillions, the number becomes so abstract that a lot of people just want to roll their eyes. Me, on the other hand? Bring it on. I want to know what the hell's out there.

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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    This is one of the most amazing similes I've ever read. I want to sig it but it would then sound like it was referring to me, which is inaccurate. Damn.
    I wholeheartedly endorse this.
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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbcl View Post
    Yeah, but once you get into the triple trillions, the number becomes so abstract that a lot of people just want to roll their eyes. Me, on the other hand? Bring it on. I want to know what the hell's out there.

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    Default Re: NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoKnight View Post
    I wholeheartedly endorse this.
    It is done.
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