Leave it to an organization full of engineers to take a perfectly cool and spectacular view of a space shuttle launch and give it the perfectly horrible name, "Ascent Imagery Highlights."
NASA has released this production of the space shuttle Discovery's launch late last month. The shuttle, as you probably know, landed yesterday for the last time.
The video almost restores the "cool factor" in its entirety to a part of the country's space initiative that seems to have lost it.
Update 4:58 p.m. - In the first hour of NPR's Science Friday tomorrow on MPR, there'll be a segment considering the future of spaceflight.
Video is blocked here at work, but someone has been remixing NASA footage with excerpts from Carl Sagan's 'Pale Blue Dot.' Truly powerful work - NASA needs to hire that guy as their PR guy.
The world has changed a lot since the beginnings of the space program. America was the unquestioned leader of the free world, and technology was king. We could do anything and were full of confidence. Nowadays, it seems like technology has been more of a mixed bag. There are more problems than we can deal with here on planet earth. Our leadership in the world is less clear than it was 40 years ago. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Shuttle accidents have made us wonder if we can really "do anything". Add to the atmosphere tough budgeting times and not a lot of real benefits that I can see for our daily lives, and it is no surprise to me that the space program is not generating much enthusiasm.
// t I can see for our daily lives
that's, actually, not inconsistent with the questions that were asked when I was growing up in the days of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.
We had just discovered the hunger and despair of Appalachia, we had ghettos and plenty of things that needed fixing right here at home.
I think what has changed is the idea that *I* remember from the '60s in which we were racing for the future whereas now we're just trying to get through today.
That's where space travel becomes irrelevant. The space program isn't so much about the right now. It's about building blocks in which the payoff comes after we're -- most likely -- dead.
That's not who we are anymore.