I spent my childhood and teenage years in a home where we were often gazing at the stars and where, today still, we can see my dad’s model kits of airplanes, of space shuttles, of rockets, as well as of science fiction ships.
Space has been one of my biggest interests, and the space shuttle has existed my generation’s entire life.
It all started with a space shuttle named Enterprise, and now shuttle Atlantis is finishing its last mission.
This is not the end of space exploration, of course. Some countries, most notably Russia, will continue making space trips, and evolving space flight. But it’s a setback and the clearest indication – if we needed any other sign – that, unlike what was said in the 80s and 90s, Humanity won’t be heading out to Mars during the 2020s. Everyone is so focused on our economy’s problems that no one wants to invest in something that requires billions of euros.
I hope that Russia, with its peculiar way of handling things, which often includes kind of ignoring what the rest of the World is doing, will keep at it.
Maybe one day, decades from now, we’ll be able to see a ship’s crew take another giant leap for Humankind on the red surface of Mars.
EDIT: my friend João R., after reading the post, gave me this link about the Space Shuttle. Worth checking out.