Essay: Stardust Memories

NASA's long ordeal is nearly over. The space shuttle has again shown it can blast astronauts into orbit on biblical smoke pillars. There is much to admire in the sight of the astronauts circling the earth in their splendid reusable spaceship, but there is also something disappointing. For the past two decades the American space program has been going mainly in circles, riding a splendid shuttle to nowhere. Once upon a time NASA launched men to the moon and sent robots across the solar system; there was even brave talk of expeditions to Mars. Now that the nightmare is over, NASA...

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