"The space shuttle has changed the way we view the world and it’s changed the way we view our universe. There’s a lot of emotion today, but one thing’s indisputable. America’s not going to stop exploring."
Atlantis commander Christopher Ferguson, as NASA’s last space shuttle mission touched down at Cape Canaveral, Florida, this morning. But even despite talk about possible ventures to an asteroid, or Mars, when the United States will actually continue space exploration is a big question. NASA’s 30-year-old space shuttle program is being shut down amid economic concerns — each launch reportedly cost $1 billion — and, some say, what appears to be a dying down of galactic wanderlust. Atlantis, which according to the New York Times went on 33 missions over 26 years, will remain at Kennedy Space Center.