Yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the first American spacewalk by Ed White (who would die in the Apollo 1 fire shortly after).
Having been beaten by Soviet Alexey Leonov (March 18) there's no particular significance to White's activity except that the basic concept of a person orbiting the Earth is, you know, mind blowing.
It's depressing that we're so jaded and used to space exploration that no one really pays attention anymore. It's just a thing that happens, every bit as exciting as the building of a new strip mall. Yes, I understand that we can't really afford the space program anymore. Yes, I realize that there's not much of a point to sending actual humans into space when unmanned vehicles (Two robot posts this week. What the hell.) can do every aspect of spaceflight for which there is a legitimate need. But it's cool. It's too bad that we can't afford to do cool things just because they're cool anymore. It's too bad that we can't set goals as a nation and high-five one another when "we" achieve them. I guess we can still do that one, but the goals are depressing things like "I hope we can plug that gushing oil well before the entire ocean dies" or "Maybe we can wrap up one of these wars in the next couple of years."
It's never fun when you have to come to grips with the fact that you can only afford the necessities and all of the fun stuff has to fall by the wayside. It's not a great way to live, and it's where we're at as a nation.
(No Politics fail.)