Friday, July 8, 2011

Remember Tang?

Today is a sad day.

If weather permits, it will be the last day for a long time that the United States, as a nation, sends humans into space using our own vehicles. The 135th and last mission of the Shuttle Program is supposed to launch today at 11:26. Politics and lack of focus have brought us to this point

I understand the financial burdens space exploration places on our nation. I understand that unmanned missions are probably more effective than manned flights.

But….damn.

I was talking to a friend about the end of the program and he busted me about my, “If something doesn’t directly affect your life don’t pay so much attention to it” attitude. See yesterday’s blog if you need an explanation.

The reality, though, is that I’m creating this blog and you’re reading it on devices that might not be in existence if not for the space program. Computers, nanotechnology, energy technology, metallurgy, communications, microwaves…hell, Tang (if you remember the instant orange drink), all came out of the space program.

In fact, the computing power in my little desktop unit or in my iPhone is greater than that in any of the Mercury or Appollo space capsules thanks to the space program.

Humans, especially Americans, are exploring creatures. We want to know what’s in the next valley or the next solar system.

In any area of life, if we don’t go, we don’t know.

It’s just a damned shame.

And on that happy note, have a great weekend.

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