Just before space shuttle Endeavour blasted off from Cape Canaveral Monday morning, its commander said something important.
Endeavour's mission is the next to the last for U.S. space shuttles. The program is being ended, with no firm plan to continue manned space exploration by this country.
Another reason why Monday's launch gained more than usual attention, of course, is that Endeavour Commander Mark Kelly is the husband of inspirational Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Giffords, still recovering from being shot, attended the launch.
Shortly before lifting off, Kelly thanked all who made the mission possible, then said this: "It is in the DNA of our great country to reach for the stars and explore. We must not stop."
We agree, and we think many other Americans do, too. We hope President Barack Obama keeps that in mind in deciding the future of NASA.