On Orion's Test Flight

NASA, "NASA's Journey to Mars":

In the not-too-distant future, astronauts destined to be the first people to walk on Mars will leave Earth aboard an Orion spacecraft. Carried aloft by the tremendous power of a Space Launch System rocket, our explorers will begin their Journey to Mars from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying the spirit of humanity with them to the Red Planet. The first future human mission to Mars and those that follow will require the ingenuity and dedication of an entire generation. It's a journey worth the risks. We take the next step on that journey this Thursday, Dec. 4, with the uncrewed, first flight test of Orion. (Follow along on the Orion Blog, or see the full schedule of events and launch viewing opportunities). Orion is the first spacecraft built for astronauts destined for deep space since the storied Apollo missions of the 1960s and 70s. It is designed to go farther than humans have ever traveled, well beyond the moon, pushing the boundaries of spaceflight to new heights.

As I type this, my girlfriend, her mom, and I are in the midst of a two-week vacation in Florida. Our first stop was the Kennedy Space Center, and it was such an awesome tour. Space tech is so cool, and the ambitions of humankind to (further) explore the universe is even cooler. I have new respect for the US's space program as a result of visiting the KSC.

(via 512 Pixels)