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I missed the shuttle landing this morning, which has me a little annoyed with myself. On the other hand, it was probably during the best sleeping hour of the night, given that there is no AC here, and the outside temp never fell below the 70s. On the other hand, maybe it's just as well. When I think about the shuttle program, and NASA in general right now, I have this low-boil anger.

I understand, in part, choices made by those who control our aerospace program, but there seems an almost criminal level of short-sightedness. Good governance isn't just about today and tomorrow, it's about 20, 50, 100 years from now.

I am a child of the space age. When I was 9 months old, Sputnik was launched, and the race to space became public. Now, after 5 decades of leading, we're about to start cadging rides from the Russians, and buying space from commercial providers. Something about that just seems wrong. And the cynical part of my brain says that it also says something about the country, which to my mind seems to be walking away from advancing knowledge, critical thinking, and logic and towards the comfort of social prescriptivism, jingoism, and religious dogma.

But it is a bit early in the morning for such cynicism. Time to shake it off, and head out to a day dealing with nervous and hopeful incoming college freshman. Maybe one of them will be the first woman on Mars. (See, I can do cockeyed optimist, too. But sustaining it will require a lot more coffee!!)

*Reposted from Google+*