The old days of U.S. space travel
by, February 25th, 2011 at 07:56 PM (554 Views)
My blog title is a bit sensationalist, I know, but still -- I feel sad explaining to my kids what the space shuttle "was." (I'm inspired to write this based on the last launch of Discovery, of course.) For all of its problems I think that an ambitious space program was one of the better things the U.S. government has come up with, to do with itself.
That's right, kids (I tell them), the shuttles were cool, and we were going to replace them with something better . . . but, well, we've changed our minds. For one thing, we don't have much money anymore. In part because we're spending $100 billion a year in Iraq.
And yes, we walked on the moon . . . when I was your age. That's something we could manage 40 years ago, but now . . . it's too dang hard.
In Copan in Honduras I was struck that when that city's civilization fell -- when was it, around 900 A.D., right? -- it did so very suddenly, apparently; one day they were able to pay masons to carve a monument, and the next day the monument was left half-finished, as it remains today; and the dads back then told their kids, well, see, we used to have our act together enough to write our history in stone, but now . . .