Well, the nail biting is over. The shuttle’s back home, brought down with precision and the calming voice of Commander Eileen Collins (search). Of course, we’re all happy that our astronauts are back safe and sound. But what was the mission about?
It seemed like most of the mission in space was spent figuring out how to get safely back down to earth. A lot of the other part was spent cleaning up the tons garbage that had accumulated on the International Space Station (search). NASA boosters say the shuttle’s a lot more than a space garbage truck. But what’s it doing up there?
One physicist told The Wall Street Journal that, "there is no experiment that has been done on the space shuttle that has made a significant difference to any field of science." Now, this is a country run by politicians who waste billions of dollars on pork projects hidden in highway bills and so-called energy bills. So $16 billion spent on NASA every year is not going to break us. And there is the benefit of national pride.
But is it too much to ask for something more substantial than the honor of hauling the garbage home?
And that’s the Observer.
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