A Boring New Era of Space Exploration!
If you think this looks very familiar, you're right - the new "Crew Exploration Vehicle" looks largely like the Apollo Command/Service modules and the Saturn V rocket.
If you have Flash, be sure to check out the Flash feature. The "Cargo Upperstage QTVR" is the most phallic spaceship in the long and glorious history of Phallic Spaceships.
The reaction of the pubilc at large has been a barely stifled yawn. True, we have much more pressing things to worry about right now. But if NASA can't even manage top billing on Google News (even the afternoon they announced the program), they have a lot of work to do convincing the public, and even convincing other space scientists.
I do believe that some manned space exploration is necessary for the future of the world, although I question the wisdom of doing it right now, when robots are doing such a good job for so much less money. In the future, I think private industry will work with NASA for manned exploration.
But in the meantime, let me ask a question.... if we can afford $100 billion for a Crew Exploration Vehicle, and $87 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, can we really not afford $1.6-2.3 billion to save the iconic Hubble Space Telescope?