Nov 16, 2008

"In fascination...with the eyes of the world we stare..."

I've been noticing more and more the phrase "final shuttle flights" popping up in articles, and I can't help but feel a little bit wistful. Sure, it's almost certainly time to retire the old workhorses. Maybe if you regularly maintained a 30 year-old car it'd still purr like a kitten, but a 30 year-old SPACESHIP needs more than an oil change every now and then.

Still, the shuttles were an important part of my childhood, and that of many kids my age, I imagine. I cheered for Columbia's first liftoff and cried for Challenger, and also felt that sick feeling when Columbia fell to earth. It's a dangerous business, but it's also exciting, and all those who work and pilot these leviathans plant seeds of dreams with every take off and landing.

In an era where we find water on Mars and planets circling other nearby stars (only four months away on TNG's Warp 6), let's hope the new fleet inspires us the way the old one did.

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