NASA's been dragging along with the Space Shuttle program -1970s technology, by the way- and not getting around to real human achievement in some long time.
Here's the real deal: private trips to the moon. It won't cost taxpayers a thing. Those who want to play astronaut can do so for the princely fee of $100 million. All the while, humans get closer to the day where our Universe more literally expands. From the AP story:
"For the first time in history, a private company is organizing a mission to the moon," Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson said at a Manhattan news conference Wednesday, a day after space shuttle Discovery safely returned to Earth. "This mission will inspire countries of the world, citizens ... our youth."
Anderson said he already has prospective "private explorers" who are interested in the trip and could afford the ticket.
How lame is NASA's track record in my lifetime? It started so well, with landings in the late 1960...
The initial travelers would be the first to orbit the moon in more than 33 years, according to the Arlington, Va., company. Only 27 people have ever made such a journey.
This is the clarian call for the end of the directionless black hole for money that is NASA, and the encouragement of more private entities to explore at their own expense, and yet to all of our benefit.