I Hope This Isn’t the End July 10, 2011Posted by Jim Satterfield in Uncategorized.
The space shuttle Atlantis launched Friday. It’s the last shuttle mission that will ever be launched. Assurances are coming from many quarters that we shouldn’ t worry, it doesn’t mean the end of American space exploration, manned or unmanned. But those in our government whose vision is limited to the day to day and mundane are already looking at NASA projects to cancel. Others say that they look forward to what the private sector will do. Well, the private sector isn’t going to be making the kind of investments in pure research and exploration that are still needed. They are currently focused solely on what will return on their investment in the relatively near future. While their hearts may be in the right place in terms of their hopes that their businesses will lead to further explorations of space I just don’t see how it will happen if the types of payloads that only NASA has been willing to underwrite vanish into the maw of unreasoning budget cutting. I’m just not optimistic on this issue and that saddens me tremendously.