R.I.P. Space Shuttle program 1972-2011

Yes, Futurama is back on the air, but today is a sad one for science fans. The final Space Shuttle mission goes off today. While NASA isn't Star Trek's Federation and real space exploration isn't like the movies, all things need to start somewhere and the fact that this nation has turned its back on intellectual and adventurous pursuits is extremely disappointing. Yes, the amount of "real world" applications verses the cost is hard to stomach at times, but it's not that those funds are going to feed poor children, repair roads, or improve education. It's simply that the people who gain the most from this great nation, the millionaires and the 400 billionaires (the most of any country) that live here and eat up our, and the world's, resources don't want to have to settle for a smaller yacht by paying slightly higher tax rates. The hypocritical Newt (what a fitting name) Gingrich claims that if businesses had control of NASA we'd have all sorts of space travel and bases on the moon. So let me get this straight: businesses which, by definition, are interested in maximizing profits, would have made bases on the moon at the private expense of hundreds of millions (I'm being generous) in order to have structures on that barren, economically useless, mass? The idiocy that has enveloped the nation that went to the moon in 1969 and started the shuttle program in 1972, not because it was easy, but because it was hard and a great human advancement, is embodied by the ending of this space program. While NASA still exists, go to the site and look around at all the amazing things it does. You won't regret it. Which is more than history will say about ending the Space Shuttle program.