Double signs of an end of the NASA era

Today marked the last day of American human space exploration.  Atlantis seems to have lifted off on the last journey of the space shuttle.  It means NASA will most likely be unable to send humans into space for a decade or two or three.

Reports from Congress seem to indicate that NASA’s fall from prominence will continue.
House appropriations committee announced the cutting of the James Webb  space telescope, the successor of the famed Hubble space telescope. see here .

While the human exploration mission of NASA as been languishing for some time now, its unmanned exploration and science missions have not.  The Hubble telescope has been
a vital instrument to our understanding of the universe.   WMAP has transformed
the cosmology; it has been now succeeded by the European Planck satellite.  Other successes include Cassini, Mars Rover, Spitzer, and Messenger missions, to name a few.  I
don’t think anyone would disagree that NASA unmanned exploration and science missions have been outstanding.

I hope the budget hawks in the House will see fit to reward them by not cutting ground-breaking missions like the James Webb telescope.   For more (and better)
reading see here.

UPDATE:
In the course of writing to my congress representatives, I noticed senator Hutchison has
space/science as one of the subject areas.  Senator Cornyn on the other hand has no
space or science or even a general technology.  He has an Arts and Humanities subject
area but no science?  Explain that one.

Update 2 (7/8/2011)
Got a lame reply from senator Hutchison.  Just another stump speech.  I talked about the James Webb telescope.  Her reply was on how stupid president Obama was in cutting the shuttle program.  Typical politician response.  Veer all discussion to your stump speech … robots.

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