Every once on awhile I have to stray from soil science due to other big happenings in science. Today was an end of an era with the last landing of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Discovery has been in service since 1984 and did 39 missions, which culminated in 365 days in space. I think that is awesome! The space shuttle program, when it began, was a thing to stimulate the imagination - and I think it did (and still does) for a lot of people. Part of me was surprised that there were only ~120,000 viewers on the NASA website (NASA TV) today to watch live when Discovery landed for the last time at Kennedy Space Center at 11:57 AM eastern time.
I am always amazed at the technology. Bringing the shuttle back to Earth is just compelling to think about because the shuttle has to drop from somewhere around Mach 25 and 50+ miles up to landing in about 30 minutes. Given that I am a space shuttle fan, I was lucky enough to have a consulting/research project down at Stennis Space Center in the 90's and got to watch (or should I say feel?) the testing of the shuttle engines. An experience that I will never forget!
So on the 133rd space flight mission Discovery goes into the history books, but the space shuttle program will still go on with missions planned for both Endeavour and Atlantis this year.