Good grief! Alan Shepherd must be rolling over in his grave right about now, if he was watching the departure of the Discovery crew from the ISS yesterday. Whatever happened to our steely-eyed rocket men (or women for that matter)? Why, there were enough tears to float an external tank yesterday during the farewell. We guess its a sign of the times, and not a very good one.
Back in the early days of flight, our astronauts controlled their emotions. Do you think Neil Armstrong could have landed on the moon if he got all misty-eyed with the thoughts of what he was about to do? Heck, even Buzz Aldrin managed to hold it together. Why then, are we suddenly seeing all of this emotion bantered about?
Some of you are saying, "wait a minute!" Our astronauts are only human representatives of ourselves. Ambassadors of Orbit. Its good to see that they are human after all. Lets see all of that, diapers and everything.
It's time to reconsider the criteria for selecting astronauts. Entrusting rare, several billion dollar assets to crybabies does not seem to us to be a wise decision. And the folks that lead on the ground should come under some scrutiny as well. Reading prosey letters from Wayne Hale to his team is enough to make us gag. If our rear-ends are strapped to a couple of million pounds of explosives, we would want someone with exceptional military training watching over us. Someone who is comfortable with a firearm. Someone who knows the meaning of life and death. Someone who will focus on the task at hand without images of flowers and teddy bears entering into their thoughts.
Maybe it's one page of the Emperor's playbook that our astronauts should follow. Leave the emotion behind on earth. Your life, our future, indeed exploration depends on it.