After Bush announced ambitious plans for manned space missions to the Moon and Mars, the other shoe dropped when NASA confirmed that no further maintenance missions are planned for the Hubble Space telescope. This move virtually assures that the Hubble will die in a few years.

What has the HST done for us, you ask? Nothing much:

Gave us the age of the Universe
Provided proof of black holes
Gave first views of star birth
Showed how stars die
Caught spectacular views of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9’s collision with Jupiter
Confirmed that quasars are galactic nuclei powered by black holes
Gathered evidence that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating

All for a fraction of the cost of a manned mission.

And let’s not forget that it also takes pretty pictures.