The verdict on the Columbia accident is in and reactions vary. Some seek to glorify NASA’s past achievements, while
others pretend to know better.
It’s still my opinion that NASA has been starved from a budgetary perspective and that failed missions and lost personnel have been the inevitable result.
While it’s amusing to wonder what might have happened if mission control had ordered hi-rez camera sweeps of the shuttle, the question of what good that would have done remains in my mind. After all, our astronauts were still in orbit with no practical hope of rescue.
After the political hand-wringing is over, the de-prioritization of NASA in general and space exploration in particular will still be a national disgrace.
Where is today’s John Kennedy daring to dream of something beyond this overcrowded planet? This person is out there, I expect, stifled by an overabundance of bureaucracy and a corresponding lack of governmental vision.
One has to congratulate the Brazilians for trying to expand their role in human development, even though their recent attempt ended in a disaster whose toll in human lives tops all of NASA’s fatalities combined. Yes, they failed, but at least they tried, and there’s plenty to be said for that.