Say what you will about the space program, but the people who actually fly in the shuttle and get the work done in outer space are awesome. They are low-key, hypercompetent, passionate geeks, like Jack Bauer on quaaludes.

The latest shuttle mission involved undoing about a hundred bolts while wearing spacesuits. One of the bolts was simply stuck, endangering installation of a $372 million truss and solar array. After two spacewalkers completely kept their cool ("Son of a gun" was the worst expletive used), they used a wrench and a cheat bar to get it unscrewed. When it was all over, one of the crew inside Atlantis said:

“Now there was much rejoicing.”

I find it comforting that the best working scientists in the nation are Monty Python fans.

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