On the Science Channel's review of Science 2004, one science journalist commented that Burt Rutan et al have shamed NASA with the design used to win the X prize. I think he makes a really good point. Rutan did for $30 million what NASA has never managed with Billions. Even though the Mars landers have performed so fantastically, beyond all hopes, the NASA record in recent years is filled with failures and even a few embarrassments. I have heard for years that many aerospace engineers view the shuttle as a big, fat, pig. The entire concept was flawed from the start and it has never performed as promised. I was also struck by the squabble over the Billionaire, I forget his name, who had to go to space with the Russians because NASA refused to institute a commercial program for civilians. He was treated like an enemy of the US, according to him. What irony that a US citizen was forced to hitch a ride on a Russian craft! Who would have predicted that one thirty years ago? I have always been a huge, huge fan of NASA, but now I am beginning to doubt these loyalties. Is NASA really just arm of the military that happens to do science?