NASA turned 50 today?

Okay, I'll admit, I don't read the mainstream newspapers like I used to. Instead, I periodically skim the news through news-feeds via Bloglines. I'm mostly focused on what's happening here in Central Virginia, though I try to stay on top of what's going on in transportation policy, urban design issues, and my pop-culture interests.

So, it's at the end of reading through my third-tier search (English media) that I came upon this gem in the Independent listing 50 things that we can thank the space program for. The article was posted as part of NASA's 50th anniversary.

A quick scan of news.google.com reveals it's not a big story here. Fifty years of amazing and tragic history, and there don't seem to be too many articles celebrating it. Do we have so little pride in our accomplishments? Is this not judged to be of interest to people?

I did see some other articles of interest, though, on the Discovery Channel's Space Diary. Burt Rutan is preparing SpaceShip2, in collaboration with Richard Branson and his quest to conquer low-orbit space for tourists. A probe being sent to the moon to create a new lunar map is being delayed until February because the military wants to use the rocket it is scheduled to fly out on. But even this blog doesn't mention the 50th anniversary of NASA.

I guess it could be argued that no one celebrates the foundation of a government bureaucracy. NASA does have a page dedicated to its own birthday, but even it's buried on its homepage.

But, it takes a British newspaper to package something that feels so useful - a simple list of innovations we owe to the space race. Anyone know of anyway to calculate the return on investment for that sort of thing?

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