Ed Stein

Ed Stein
Denver, Colorado, USA
November 22
Former editorial cartoonist for the Rocky Mountain News. Creator of Freshly Squeezed, a comic strip about family togetherness after the economic collapse, syndicated by Universal Uclick


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APRIL 19, 2012 6:13PM

The Final Frontier

Rate: 3 Flag


It’s sad to see the space shuttle Discovery being flown to the Smithsonian. Not that the shuttle hadn’t outlived its usefulness, but there’s no replacement for it, meaning that manned space exploration, at least by Americans, is over for now and likely for a long time to come. The space program, for me and millions of other space geeks who grew up when Americans were orbiting the earth, landing on the moon, and making regular jaunts into space, ¬†was the most exciting example of this nation’s ambition and confidence. Yes, it was fabulously expensive, and yes, NASA made some catastrophic errors, but we dared to spend and dared to send Americans into space despite the risks.. Nothing tells the tale of our declining ambitions and our increasing self-doubt as eloquently as the contraction of NASA’s mission.

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My First EP was regarding the Space Shuttle and Manned Space Flight here on OS. You and I agree -- it was costly, mistakes were made, but more people die every year from hunger, coal mine disasters and more money is wasted on cleaning up toxic spills of oil, chemicals and toxins and we get no advances or uplift from any of that.

I am a proponent that, if we spent four times as much on the space program and upped NASA's budget by draining it from the Military Defense budget, the money the government spent on NASA would amount, with the increase, .5% of the total Budget and the military defense spending would hardly notice the lack.

What could we do, as a race, as a species, as a people, if we just did that?

Here's the link:

40% of the shuttles exploded. 12 people were killed. The program cost $200 billion and left America with no heavy lift rockets. Only 50% of the promised flights ever took place andin 2005, the head of NASA (Michael Griffin) admitted the program was a failure and hurt NASA.

And in 2011 it cost $450 million to launch one shuttle into space.

We have no replacement, no way to get into space on our own, we're paying the Russians and they've increased the price per flight.

What's not to like?