Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goodbye to all that

Today, at about 5:57 local time, the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down for the last time, ending the Space Shuttle program, after a 13 day mission. I watched it live; it felt  like it is the end of an era, and space exploration won't be the same.

For 30 years we have seen these black and white, goofy looking crafts going up roaring through the skies, it almost felt routine.
The International Space Station will now be serviced by reliable, yet dated, Russian Soyuz rockets, however it feels that we're giving up, sort of ignoring our spirit of adventure. With so much economic turmoil all over the globe, nobody really knows if this is the passing of the torch to another western program, or if a new space power will emerge. NASA's funding is being pulled out in favor of other, less noble, projects. There are no big missions planned; no mission to Mars or even going back to the moon. We have so much to learn out there; canceling space exploration instead of investing heavily on it shows how immature we are as a species yet again. Countries much rather keep bickering at each other instead of pulling together somewhere. Things like these make me lose hope in mankind. 40 years ago we could go to the Moon. 10 years ago we had a supersonic passenger plane. Yesterday we had Space shuttles. What can we be proud of today? Smart phones? Are we regressing?

I can go on and on for years but I'll let some of these pictures do the talking for me.

To laugh, or to cry?

The last mission badge added to the ISS

Mission control applauds the last undocking

Welcome home indeed.

 I digress. I'm sad. See you next time.


  1. So I guess we will have a longer wait to see people land on Mars. Quite frustrating really.
    Well organised post and good selection of pictures and the cartoon was apt.
    Nicely done overall

  2. I guess in 50 years I'll tell my children that i've seen a real spaceshuttle..

  3. Why did the US kill the space program? Its the only thing we really still had going for us :/

  4. I can't believe that the US government are making cuts to NASA yet continue to fight pointless wars and increase the Military budget. I sure hope that the James Webb telescope doesn't get cancelled, especially after seeing the huge amount of data and images that the Hubble telescope has documented.

  5. I don't think there is any justification for cutting funding to NASA.
    It's the only decent thing humanity is doing and now it's severely limited.

  6. its quite sad to see it come back, hoping for further progression.

  7. That first picture made me tear up :/ I saw the 4th and 5th pics happen live on their stream the other day though :D

    It's really disheartening to me that our country would rather pull funding from NASA in favor of funding the military and other greed-fueled endeavors. We really are me, NASA represents scientific development and intelligence, and to practically shut it down means that we no longer care about learning about our universe..we don't care about intellectual development or technological advancements besides computers. phones. etc (things that can be sold for profit).

  8. I had an opportunity to speak with an actual American astronaut about the civilian commercial space flights. It appears that the biggest concern right now is human body limitations (i.e. requirements of great strength) and related safety regulations. Still, I'm looking forward to some space tourism for the masses.

  9. another shot on the foot by the U.S.. go go go you can still shot your head and heart!

  10. I do agree we should be exploring space more, but right now we have some healing to do, we need to lick our wounds. I'd love to explore space, but when we're better funded for it, we'll be better equipped for it, then we can totally party on Mars.

  11. Indeed the end of an era. Space exploration just seemed to die off. And while I agree its a very important program, I'm going to agree with the above poster and say we need to start fixing some stuff first.

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