Here’s a picture of the last space shuttle being retired, Atlantis, to the right. And thus closes a chapter in history.
There’s a famous scientist named Neil deGrasse Tyson who always has a lot to say about these sorts of things. He’s kind of a celebrity scientist, inspired by Carl Sagan, and he cares a lot about what he says. But he makes a good point:
“Many lament the end our 30-year Space Shuttle program. But is there any technology — at all — from 1981 that you still use?” -From his twitter
So good point, Tyson. We’ve been using old technology to explore space. But it seems like it was a funding cut that caused this program to close. Should we just give up and stop exploring space? He sure doesn’t think so. Check out this video.
“How much would you pay for the universe?”
The clear conclusion here is that we probably shouldn’t so much give up, as we should find new inspiration. What we need are some new space craft designs. Not necessarily shuttles, either. We use shuttles to get to the airport from the parking lot, so a space shuttle is for something like going to the International Space Station, or to a moon base.
Speaking of which, you can read about China’s plan to make a base on the moon. They’ll probably be making shuttles, then.
But no. What we need are exploratory crafts to go to Mars. A manned exploring craft to tour the solar system, and do maneuvers and missions which are impossible by simply sending commands to robots, like we do now. Things like delicate extractions of minerals and the like. Things like… construction. Of our own lunar base.
The Space Shuttle program may be over, but the idea of going to space is still a big one. It is the final frontier. So don’t get demotivated into thinking that it’s a dead profession. If you’re passionate about space just remember the moniker, “if you build it, they will come”; if you engineer a good space craft, it will be used.