No conventional way to get to space from North America

Yesterday was the last launch of the space shuttle Endeavour. This is significant because after the space shuttle programme ends, there will be no conventional way to leave the planet from North America. By “conventional way to get to leave the planet,” I mean things like rockets and space shuttles. Of course I can’t rule out, a priori, the possibility of things like inter-dimensional portals, unguarded Tardises or magic wardrobes.

I believe the date for the last planned flight of Atlantis is June 28th, so if you really need to get off the planet and you don’t want to book a seat on a Soyuz capsule (and you don’t have access to a non-conventional method of leaving the planet), this is the way to go. That said, the shuttles will be sent to museums after they retire, so you might try hijacking one of them if you are really desperate.

In related news, it turns out that Gliese 581g still probably might not exist maybe, but Gliese 581d might have liquid water.

“This discovery is important because it’s the first time climate modellers have proved that the planet is potentially habitable, and all observers agree that the exoplanet exists.” (Dr Wordsworth, a member of the team from the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace in Paris)