The Space Shuttle Program's Ignominious Conclusion

As Lileks wrote, "when nations, cultures stop exploring, it’s a bad sign. You’re ceding the future." But for the past few years though, NASA has had more...important...things on its mind than space exploration via manned spacecraft. If indeed the M-word is even allowed to be spoken in the halls that once brought you The Right Stuff. Last month, I quoted Bay Area blogger Bookworm Room:

Am I the only one who finds it amusing that NASA, of all the available government organizations, has taken upon itself the task of both LGBT and Muslim outreach?  It’s hard to imagine two more different constituencies.

As I wrote in reply, it's amazing how often those two seemingly disparate branches of left-wing identity politics intertwine, isn’t it? No wonder the remarkably non-distaff non-Muslim “Gay Girl From Damascus” became such a hit with western liberals who wanted to have it all. But this trend isn’t new with NASA. Back in early 2008, I spotted a USA Today headline titled,“For NASA, ‘The Right Stuff’ Takes On A Softer Tone.”

As I wrote back then:

Well, that’s one way to put it, I guess. Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff and its movie version brilliantly depict America’s first astronauts fighting against NASA bureaucrats to keep their balls — the piloting skills they earned the hard way, by surviving dangerous, experimental aircraft.

It took NASA almost 50 years, but these days, since space is no longer about actually going anywhere useful, their bureaucrats have finally won that battle.

Long before 2008, The Right Stuff had become squishy and meaningless. Today, that tone is as limp as it can be.

Mark Steyn recently wrote that "diversity is where nations go to die." For NASA, political correctness and its accompanying cultural ennui is where it’s gone to die.

Will commercial space flight take up the slack? As Michael Ledeen likes to say, Faster, Please.