Harsh words from Randall Munroe's XKCD regarding the achievements of America's space program. To be fair, he was good to follow up his diss by noting that "[NASA's Mars rovers] Spirit and Opportunity are pretty awesome. And Kepler. And New Horizons, Cassini, Curiosity, TiME, and Project M."

"But c'mon," he concludes, "if the Earth were a basketball, in 40 years no human's been more than half an inch from the surface."


Should humanity gauge its greatest accomplishments in space on how far we can fling members of our species off the face of our home planet? Certainly not. But Munroe has a point. Not since the moon landing has humanity had a space-related accomplishment so compelling as to capture the attention of the entire planet. Wouldn't you say we're about due for one?

[XKCD via It's Okay to be Smart]