Deploying and maintaining the Hubble has been one of the biggest boons to man's understanding of the remote cosmos. But vivid examples like that aside, how much did the shuttle help science? Not at all, says one renowned astrophysicist.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium and Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, isn't espousing a new view. The shuttle-as-Cold-War-gesture argument is an old and established one. But he puts is pithily and simply—the entire program was never meant to advance science, but rather to serve as a grand stroke in the Washington versus Moscow pissing match in the vacuum.

With the Shuttle Program now concluded, reflections of this nature will likely become more intensive and valuable than ever—and it's certain to be a divisive inquiry. [via Motherboard]