Watch: Space Shuttle Atlantis Lifts Off For Final Flight


NASA launched the final space shuttle flight today, an occasion that officially marks the end of the United States' reign as the top dog in out-of-this-world exploration.

As I mentioned briefly in yesterday's news roundup, a majority of Americans hope to see the States regain its celestial crown. From a Pew survey: "Fifty years after the first American manned space flight, nearly six-in-ten (58%) say it is essential that the United States continue to be a world leader in space exploration; about four-in-ten say this is not essential (38%)."

Do you agree? While I think it's important for humans to venture into space, that final frontier, and NASA has brought earth-bound citizens some great innovations -- velcro, anyone? -- ceaseless adventures in outer space interest me far less than taking care of pressing problems here on the home planet.

Watch the historic takeoff, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted July 8, 2011 at 12:42pm ETC by Andrew Belonsky
in News, science, Space