I was a kid back in the early '60s when President Kennedy announced the great challenge and the national mission of going to the moon. I watched with great interest as the astronauts made their way in baby steps all the way to the Sea of Tranquility. I cheered their successes, bemoaned their failures, and watched with horror during their tragedies. I laughed with them, cried with them, and am intensely proud of the fact that the only footprints on the moon are American footprints.
That's over now. Our manned space program is in its final flight. The Obama administration, through lack of foresight and vision, doesn't have another mission for us. Some folks are worried about a brain-drain as the best and brightest leave the agency to pursue other challenges. Others, on a more mundane note, are concerned that as many as 23,000 jobs could be lost in one country in Florida. However, when you start tallying the industries that supported this program, you find workers in Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama that directly support the space program.
My libertarian bent hopes that private industry picks up the slack. There are exciting things going on in private space travel, and maybe it's time for private companies to take a greater interest in the universe. There are worlds out there to explore and fortunes to be made beyond the borders of our home planet.