The dark future of American space exploration: NASA’s golden age is about to come to a thudding halt

I remember, as a kid, being thrilled by the images that came in from the Voyager flybys in the late 70s and 80s. I wrote a fan letter to NASA when I was about 11, and received a big stack of glossy publications on the Space Shuttle and commercial technologies spun off from NASA inventions.

imageIf NASAs New Horizons mission to Pluto is extended beyond 2017, the entire active human presence at the outer planets will consist of a single probe the size of a grand piano.

If the mission is not extended, humanitys 43-year exploration of the outer planets will end, and humanitys horizon will shrink by about 2.5 billion miles. Worse, because of the time necessary to build a spacecraft and the harsh reality of orbital mechanics, the earliest a new mission could be sent beyond the asteroid belt is sometime in the 2020s.

via Vox.