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Space Shuttle Endeavor Lands In Los Angeles After Final Flight 111

Today the space shuttle Endeavor completed its final ferry flight, landing in Los Angeles, California after leaving Edwards Air Force Base earlier today. The shuttle will now undergo preparations for its journey through the streets of L.A. (at a cost of 400+ trees) to its final resting place at the California Science Center. It'll go on public display October 30. Endeavor spent over 296 days in space throughout 25 missions, comprising 4,671 orbits that added up to over 197 million kilometers of travel. Slashdot's own Kaushik Acharya was at the Griffith Observatory in L.A. for the flyover, and he provided some great pictures of Endeavor's passing.
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Space Shuttle Endeavor Lands In Los Angeles After Final Flight

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  • by petsounds ( 593538 ) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @12:54AM (#41418883)

    I was at LA's Griffith Observatory today for the flyover, and the crowd was not only massive (not only was every Griffith Park parking space filled, but also the nearby Greek Theater's parking lot), but it was very diverse. Young, old, in-between. A broad mix of races and probably economic level as well. Let's not forget, these people, and everyone else who went to a flyover area, were pumped for NASA, and for a symbol of an America that they can be proud of. Yes, certainly there was a novelty factor at play of a Space Shuttle flying around on top of a frickin 747, but regardless it was capturing their attention and imagination.

    Looking at these people around me, it really struck me that there's a giant disconnect in how they view NASA in comparison to how Congress and the President(s) view it. People see NASA as a tool for exploration, a window to discovery, and a symbol of America's leadership and greatness in technological innovation. Our government often sees NASA at best as a way to put jobs in local districts, and at worst as an organization they try to starve because they can't get rid of it. Thank the universe that Curiosity landed in one piece, because it shone light on a NASA that was half-buried in the backyard. On the other hand, NASA recently chose to send another geology mission to Mars instead of sending a lander to float in a Titan sea. NASA needs to capture the public's imagination. The Curiosity Twitter account has been inundated by questions from the public on why Curiosity doesn't include a microphone in order to listen to the sounds of Mars; the stock answer is that a microphone doesn't fulfill a science need. Well half of the Apollo missions included activities by their astronauts that had no science goal. The goal was capturing the spirit of wonder. NASA must keep that in mind if it is to stay viable, let alone flourish, in the harsh budgetary environment it finds itself in.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler