On some fronts we retreat

The aurora from the ISS - you can see how high above the atmosphere it is, which gives its apparent closeness when seen from the ground all the more magnificence. The shuttle is docked here too, and I believe this was the last visit. Alas! The Wingnuts and Confederates have killed the US manned space program over the last 30 years, as they have killed so much and continue to hunt for other things to kill. There is no NASA program waiting in the wings to keep Americans flying into space. That's it! The end of the incredible accomplishments begun in the 1950's and especially the 1960's - we went from the Wright brothers to the Moon in 60 years! We've spent the last 30 dicking around in low orbit, doing nothing much other than space trucking. 

Private industry looks closer to sending folks into low orbit, but it's going to be a tourist junket for the rich for a long while. Give it some time and it will work out, but it might take 20 years or so before it's cheap enough for scientists to get in the game.

So, adios, space! At least for us stupid Americans. We'll depend on the Russians to get to the ISS from here out. How about that?! Cold War what? I love the Russians as I love all of Earth's people, but it's pretty risky to put your manned access to space into the hands of a not quite dependable partner. We'll see how it works out!

Thanks Repuglicans. Your strategy of "drowning the government in the bathtub" (Grover Norquist) by spending like mad when in power, than fighting any attempt to fix the mess when out of power has worked like a charm. Congrats.

As a goodbye, here's some pics of the shuttle and ISS - the ISS is a big boondoggle and albatross, so don't expect the USA to be involved for much longer.


This last shot shows the streaking shuttle re-entering the atmosphere proper. It gets hot - hence the smoke. Goodbye, shuttle. You were never that cool, but I'll still miss you.

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