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As for lunar exploration, that impressive but short-lived child of a near-forgotten cold war, we have reached a time where NASA is no longer the proud vanguard of a technological adventure. Instead it seems to be the faltering custodian of an old one. The spacecraft that will be used for touchdown missions in the coming decade are based on systems designed in the late 1970s: solid rocket boosters from the space shuttle, bolted onto a familiar throwaway fuel tank, topped by a conical crew capsule that is embarrassingly similar to the old Apollo.
We've seen this stuff before, so do not experience the same thrill in rocket adventures as our parents did 40 or 50 years ago, when both they and the space age were still young. This failure to seduce us represents a fundamental problem for NASA. If it can't inspire people any more, then what's the point? Unless it can restore that vital bond of communication, it's hard to see a way forward for the ageing agency.
Originally posted by plumranch
a convincing case for NASA being a .... burocratic, unnecessarily secretive .... organization