I've been vigorously defending manned space flight the past 24 hours on another board (Free Republic). It seems many people see this accident as proof that the Shuttle is a boondoggle (they may have a point), and ALL tasks in space can better be done remotely, with robotics.
Aside from the obvious point that it is man's fundamental nature to explore, what other reasons do we have to send men into space? And what do you think should be our next long term step?
Can this be used as the impetus to replace the Shuttle with something more advanced?
I apologize in advance if this thread appears to have been posted too soon after the fact.