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What did I miss?
What the US didn't do in space since the end of Apollo:

Put a human on the surface of another planet.

What the US did do in space since the end of Apollo:

Place a variety of advanced telescopes in space

Sent fly-by missions to every planet.

Put orbiters around Earth, the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Put landers in or on Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Titan.

Mapped numerous bodies in the Solar System.

Discovered what appear to be a number of oceans on other worlds.

[I was surprised to encounter an article from the 1970s that
made it clear the author wasn't sure if the Galilean moons were rocky
or icy]

Carried out a long term examination of the sun from space.

Sent fly-by missions to a number of asteroids and comets.

Destructively explored the interior of an asteroid.

Sent a high-speed mission to the first known dwarf planet, Pluto,
and points beyond.

Explored the borders of the heliopause.

That's just off the top of my head.

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You left out space stations: first Skylab, then ISS. And shuttles.

You didn't mention the discovery of extra-solar planets, but maybe that isn't strictly a US activity, and so doesn't count (or maybe it's covered under "new telescopes").

- Ken

Neither was the lander on Titan (although strictly speaking I only credited the US for getting it there, not building it).

uh. I thought that the soviets landed things on the Veneran surface, not the US. The french did balloons, iirc. We dropped probes...but they were not soft landers as I recall.

Pioneer Venus Multiprobe not only dropped four probes into Venus' atmosphere but one of them managed to survive for over an hour on the surface despite not really being designed to do that and the significant disadvantage of not having been given a parachute.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
"Sent fly-by missions to every planet."

Relying on the recent redefinition of Pluto as not a planet. :p Lowering the bar...

"Sent a high-speed mission to the first known dwarf planet, Pluto, and points beyond."

Huh, I've missed that. Which mission, and did it get there yet?

"Huh, I've missed that. Which mission, and did it get there yet?"

Not yet. It's called New Horizons:

It was launched in 2006. It'll get there in 2015.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
An interplanetary medium (and cometary coma) sample return mission.

A solar wind sample return mission that augured in but still got some results.

-- Steve really likes it when spacecraft return with their scientific plunder. You can fit so much more lab equipment into a lab than you can a probe...

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As for humans: Do you find privately-financed tourism at all compelling? Other people will certainly find it compelling if the price is right. People really enjoy inspiring views and will pay a lot for strange recreational experiences. (There are other economic arguments to be made, but as you know, they've been discussed here plenty.)

As for science (regardless of human presence): Do you find the ongoing search for life interesting? Also, I often find places on Earth interesting regardless of what life is present -- do you? If so, are you saying that for you, the rest of the solar system is somehow different?

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Er, I lost track of the definitions flying around; did the "Dwarf Planet" definition settled on once more manage to exclude Ceres, while putting Pluto into its little ghetto classification that makes it a LITTLE better than an asteroid but nowhere near as good as a REAL planet?

From wikipedia because I am lazy:

The IAU currently recognizes five dwarf planets—Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.

I feel obliged to point out that "SOHO is a joint operation of ESA and NASA" as I have to say in the acknowledgment section of all my papers. (SOHO is a big part of that "long-term examination of the Sun from space.")

I have no idea what the relative contributions are in monetary terms, though.

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MESSENGER (ie launched an orbiter to Mercury).

I'm sure there are Hubble discoveries you could list.

But having just spent a week sailing to a bunch of glaciers and back, I am in favor of humans going to interesting places. I know all of this science is great, I follow it avidly, and I love what we learned. But I'd trade it all in a second for a crewed Mars base.

Why? Because I'm not a robot. So even if she did have her own LJ, Opportunity doesn't mean as much to me as Armstrong. Sorry.

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Didn't we also launch Gene Roddenberry's ashes into space?

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