Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Discovery Is Looking Pretty Old

Well it’s getting to be that time in history when we switch from one form of space travel to another. And I for one am glad. At least as far as astronaut safety is concerned these old shuttles are getting up there in age. Even the highest quality car only has a life expectance of 8-15 years. And the shuttles are way more complex and thus more difficult to maintain. Granted (for the most part) NASA’s done a bang up job. I think they rarely get the praise they deserve these days. But after 30 years of flights, orbits, re-entries, etc. these old girls have taken more than their share of hits, injuries, and repairs. It’s time. Or almost time... the Discovery is being rolled out now for reassembly and if this is not its final journey than it’s at least one of its final “golden year” journeys.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the shuttle was a very cool way to travel. And I have some issues with the Ares (ie. why not make a bigger shuttle that can release a pod down to a planet’s surface? Is it a money issue?). 

But I also believe the people of NASA really know what they’re doing, and if the Ares is what we get, well I’m willing to give it a chance. I honestly believe space travel is far more important than most people seem to think now a days. And I sometimes feel a little disheartened that people don’t share my vision of the future. 

See, I’m a dreamer. And I still wholeheartedly expect a version of that future we were all promised by pop culture sci-fi movies. I want a private spaceship with a warp drive and an awesome talking computer. I hope to explore distant planets and perhaps the advanced life forms that exist their. And I pray that I’ll one day get to at least feel what it’s like to be truly weightless... not simulated. 
Anyways, I’ve rambled long enough... but it seems like the end of an era to me. I grew up with the shuttles always being there, and a part of me never expected them to be placed in a museum somewhere, collecting dust, never to make another trip into the Cosmos. It’s a bittersweet thought. But the year is now 2010... and before you know it, it’ll be 2011. Oh man, where does the time go?

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