Thursday 21 July 2011

Why I'm So Sad to See the Space Shuttle Come Home

On the 11th December 1972, Eugene Cernan became the last human being to walk on the natural grey satellite that orbits our fragile blue planet.

On the 27th November 2003 I lined the runway at Filton airfield just outside Bristol as the last commercial supersonic passenger plane touched from its final flight.

On July 21st 2011 I received this beautiful and poignant video montage of the Space Shuttle missions from Dr. Adam Rutherford shortly after Atlantis safely touched back down on Earth for the last time.

I wonder where I will  be  when we abandon scientific pioneering completely, and on what date we will use the wheel for the last time.

FFS humanity why cant we get back to adventuring, pioneering and truly awe inspiring science rather than investing all our cash in innovative ways to blow up people who have a different imaginary friends to us?


BDH said...

Absolutely agree. Whatever you think of of the US and particularly elements of its foreign policy, the space program was (is?)a beautiful thing and embodies the best of humanity. A sad day. I also wish the Russian Oligarchs would continue Yuri Gargarin's legacy by throwing money at space exploration rather than football clubs.

IanM said...

The examples you cite were mistakes - technological dead-ends.
I am still waiting for a tangible benefit to mankind to come from the ISS. There is no good reason to send humans into space anymore. Sending humans to Mars is just something George W Bush once said. We went to the moon and found it was crap, so never went back.

There may be a future for fast orbital-path transport, if it can be proven efficient: London - Sydney in 2 Hours anyone? But that would have to be weighed against the concept: "Is your journey really necessary?"

Paul S. Jenkins said...

Yes, it does seem as if the human race is turning in on itself. But this was the ultimate message of Kubrick & Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The message was more Clarke's than Kubrick's, I think, as exemplified in Clarke's novel Childhood's End, which was an exploration of humanity's alternative destiny: "The stars are not for man" — a view contrary to Clarke's own, prompting him to preface the novel with the statement, "The opinions expressed in this book are not those of the author."