America’s half-century of manned spaceflight came to a crashing end (actually a safe landing) today as the space shuttle Atlantis completed the final flight of the entire NASA program. In a nation that refuses to care for its sick and find work for its tens of millions of idle people, sending a 1970s low-orbit glider around the Earth every so often is obviously out of the question. As for replacements, there is no replacement for the shuttle. Human exploration and colonization of space will be left to some other country, or perhaps it won’t happen at all. And considering what we’ve done to this planet, there are worthwhile arguments for simply keeping our dumb, violent, diabetic race of slobs here on Earth until we die out from bird flu or anal leakage or whatever.
The first space shuttle didn’t actually fly to space, and was named the “Starship Enterprise” because of a canceled teevee show from the ’60s, about a devil-eared Jewish scientist and his randy midwestern pal, who liked to get it on with colored girls … green colored girls. The actual NASA shuttle program could never really compare with that cheesy NBC show, let alone with the exciting space opera movies of the actual time period when the shuttles began their tedious orbits.
It was Ronald Reagan who, after destroying America’s education system, decided to give a “high five” to teachers by sending an actual school teacher into orbit. And that shuttle exploded on takeoff. Later, after 9/11, another shuttle crashed over “Palestine, Texas.” Before the shuttle Endeavor’s final flight this year, a heavily armed lunatic in Arizona massacred a dozen people and somehow didn’t manage to kill the commander’s congresswoman wife, despite shooting her through the skull.
And now the Atlantis has landed in Florida and the teabagger Texan hero Rick Perry is whining that Obama won’t give billions in federal money to a new space program which Congress wouldn’t approve anyway, the end. [ABC News]