The End of NASA As We Know It?
Well, that's the end of it. 30 years of space shuttle launches and expeditions into the final frontier are over (for now). Of course we're still going into space, but it's the first time the United States has no way of sending Americans to space on their own. We're all going to have to depend on the Russian Space Agency to give us a ride back to the ISS.
I've been around since the beginning of the space shuttle era and have witnessed all the ups and downs (just as the entire world has).
Space is such and exciting place, and I still have a slight fantasy of being able to go up one day. Perhaps I'll start saving up for Sir Richard Branson's space flight offer. Although I believe I need over $100,000 for the privilege.
I really hope that we'll find a few very brave people who will mount the first expeditions to Mars. Even though it takes about a year to get there, I'm sure many people would love to be the first. And going back to the capsule-on-a-rocket method of hurtling humans out of our atmosphere might be the most efficient and safest? The Soyuz rockets seem to have been performing pretty well for the last few decades.
According to the NASA website, things are still going forward with constant visits to the ISS (through the Russian agencies). As well as commercial launch partnerships between NASA and private aerospace companies, which NASA will use to send other satellites to do their job around our planet.
The exciting launch I'm looking forward to is the Mars Science Lab, which will help determine whether Mars is (or ever was) capable of supporting life at one point.
One thing we can never stop is our constant need to push ourselves further and further. The level of human curiosity is insatiable and I really pray that we don't give up on further space discovery simply due to lack of funding, or because we need to feed another war on earth etc.
If we don't feed mankind's desire to know 'what's over that next hill?', we might as well pack it in now and call it a failure. You can't consider anything a failure if you're committed to pushing further and further.