Derb: I basically agree with everything you say, and meant in my post merely to highlight (the perhaps obvious) point that people die when they do daring things–even when the things are as seemingly mundane as sailing on a ship or going into space. I’m not a huge fan of the shuttle, which has not delivered anything close to what was promised. Most of its science can be conducted without people leaving the atmosphere. As far as I can tell, the only scientific reason for putting people in space is to see what effect space has on them. There may be other reasons for launching people, but they are mainly romantic or nationalistic ones. I suppose I’d like to see the remaining shuttles used a few more times, just as I’d like to see something interesting and bold built at the WTC site. Beyond that, we must reassess our national mission in space. A good way to start, I believe, is to go nuclear.