In the most recent week, the American, European, as well as Russian space programs suffered from bummers.
Elon Musk's new SpaceX F9R rocket self-detonated over Texas. Something went wrong and we're told that this rocket's suicide was their mundane Plan B. It's sort of hard to believe that they really planned such a "maneuver" but maybe it's right. One can't get rid of the feeling that these attempts to privatize the space research are perhaps "too cheap" for them to succeed.
Triton, to be discussed later
The second bummer is linked to the unAmerican competitors of the GPS system. A year ago, a Proton-M rocket carrying a GLONASS (Russian GPS) satellite exploded shortly after it was launched.
I want to believe that only the Russian shortage of perfectionism, and not some "intervention" by other powers, was behind that explosion. Now, in Summer 2014, Europe thought it was sending its own GPS competitors, the Galileo satellites, into the orbit. They didn't explode but they did end on a wrong orbit after the flawless launch of the Soyuz rocket in French Guiana. Yes, somewhat speculatively, I may imagine that the U.S. could have sabotaged this thing, too. Needless to say, it's equally plausible that Musk's failure has been helped by some Russian boffins and hackers, too.
Some sources suggest that the botched Galileo launch could undermine the Russian space industry.
I don't want to enumerate additional recent failures although this wasn't a complete list.
Instead, let's return 25 years and 1 day into the past. On August 25th, 1989, months before the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, Voyager 2 (launched in 1977) was flying near Triton, a moon of Neptune's. The video looks so cool and three-dimensional, like an advertisement luring you to visit the place.
If you need to know, Triton's radius is 1350 km, 4.7 times smaller than Earth's. So you won't be shocked that the surface area is about 23 million squared kilometers, just like the area of North America (minus one-half of Mexico). It would be fun to colonize such places at some moment.
Europa, Jupiter's moon (similar size to Triton), may be even lovelier. After the possibly looming complete failure on Earth, the European Union could be moved to that moon.