Final Countdown

  • Aired:  07/14/11
  •  | Views: 71,008

John Oliver goes to Cape Canaveral to witness the end of an era as NASA considers outsourcing America's hopes and dreams to India. (5:41)

SO LAST FRIDAY THE FINAL LAUNCH

OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE WAS LAST

FRIDAY, A STIRRING EVENT THAT

CREATED EVEN MORE UNEMPLOYMENT

WITH SWARMS OF JOBLESS

ASTRONAUTS NOW FLOODING THE JOB

MARKET.

JOHN OLIVER WAS AT CAPE

CANAVERAL TO WITNESS THE END OF

AN ERA.

>> AMERICA'S SPACE PROGRAM WAS

OUR CROWNING GLORY.

IT WAS A MEASURE OF WHO WE WERE

AS A PEOPLE, A TIME WHEN WE

EXPLORED A NEW WORLD,

ILLUMINATED OUR BREATHTAKING

UNIVERSE, AND WE DID THESE

THINGS IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF

JOHN F. KENDY...

>> NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE EASY BUT

BECAUSE THEY ARE HARD.

>> ALL OF THIS IS NOW OVER.

AND WHERE BETTER FOR ME TO GO

THAN FLORIDA TO WATCH SOMETHING

DIE.

>> IT'S A LITTLE SAD.

THIS IS REALLY THE END OF AN

ERA.

>> HAPPY THAT I GOT TO SEE IT.

SAD THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE

NONE AFTER THIS.

>> TOO BAD I WON'T BE ABLE TO

SEE IT AGAIN.

>> IT WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US IN

A WAY.

>> WILL IT?

>> NO, NOT THE SHUTTLE.

THAT WILL PROBABLY GET MELTED

DOWN FOR SCRAP.

I MEAN THE MEMORY OF WHEN

AMERICA HAD HOPES AND DREAMS.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU

GROW UP?

DON'T SAY ASTRONAUT.

[LAUGHTER]

WERE YOU GOING TO SAY ASTRONAUT?

>> YEAH.

>> I COULD SEE THAT.

AMERICA'S SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM

WAS IN ITS FINAL COUNTDOWN.

AND I COULDN'T WAIT TO BE A PART

OF IT.

I'M HERE AT CAPE CA KNAVE RAL

FOR A SEMINOLE MOMENT IN HISTORY

WHEN AMERICA LOOKS TO ITS

HIGHEST ASPIRATIONS AND SAID,

EH, [BLEEPED] IT.

THE SPACE PROGRAM HAD ONCE BEEN

PILOTED BY MEN WHO WERE

INTERNATIONAL SUPERSTARS, NAMES

LIKE JOHN GLENN, NEIL ARMSTRONG,

JIM LOVELL.

>> HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

>> APPARENTLY THEY EVEN EXISTED

IN REAL LIFE, TOO.

I SAT DOWN WITH APOLLO 13'S JIM

LOVELL, A TRUE AMERICAN HERO,

WHO WOULD NEVER GIVE UP WITHOUT

A FIGHT.

THIS CONVERSATION WASN'T GOING

TO BE EASY.

>> I'M JUST GOING TO STOP THAT

MUSIC.

RIGHT.

IT'S GOING TO MAKE THIS MORE

DIFFICULT.

SO, JIM, LISTEN, IT'S OVER.

>> I NEVER SAY THAT.

IT IS MUCH EASIER IF WE JUST

SAID, WHY DON'T WE LET SOMEONE

ELSE DO IT.

I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.

INDIA IS LOOKING AT THE

ADVANTAGES OF SPACE.

>> SO WE'RE GOING TO OUTSOURCE

OUR HOPES AND DREAMS TO INDIA.

>> WE MIGHT.

BUT IS THAT THE MODUS OPERANDI

OF THE UNITED STATES?

NO.

THE NEW GENERATION SHOULD GET

THE SAME EXPERIENCE THAT THE OLD

GENERATION GOT.

WE ORBITED THE MOON FOR THE VERY

FIRST TIME.

WE SAW THE EARTH AS IT REALLY

IS, JUST A SMALL BLUE AND WHITE

BODY TUCKED AWAY IN THE VASTNESS

OF SPACE.

I COULD PUT UP MY THUMB AND

COMPLETELY HIDE EVERYTHING THAT

I'VE EVER KNOWN.

THAT PHOTOGRAPH TELLS IN JUST

ONE PICTURE REALLY THE EXISTENCE

THAT WE HAVE HERE ON EARTH.

>> WOW.

THAT'S INCREDIBLE.

I'VE ACTUALLY GOT AN AMAZING

PHOTOGRAPH, AS WELL.

I GOT TO SHOW YOU.

LOOK, IT'S ME AND PEE WEE

HERMAN.

[LAUGHTER]

>> OH, YEAH.

>> ISN'T THAT INCREDIBLE?

DO -- YOU THINK, I CAN'T BEREAVE

WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW.

AS THE SHUTTLE PREPARED FOR ITS

LAST LAUNCH AND THE CROWD BRACED

THEMSELVES FOR A FINAL WAVE

GOOD-BYE, THIS AMERICAN ICON

LEFT THE EARTH, NOT WITH A BANG,

BUT WITH A WHOA, WOW, HOLY CRAP

THAT IS LOUD, WOW.

LOOK AT THAT THING.

I'VE GOT TO BE HONEST WITH YOU,

A WEEK AFTER THIS HAPPENED I'M

STILL GETTING GOOSE BUMPS.

WOW THAT.

IS THE SINGLE MOST AMAZING THING

I'VE EVER WITNESSED.

GO, GO, FLY!

WE HAVE TO DO THAT AGAIN.

WE HAVE TO DO THAT AGAIN.

WHEN ARE WE DOING THAT AGAIN?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN NEVER?

OKAY.

SO THAT WAS OBJECTIVELY

INCREDIBLE.

BUT WHO IS GOING TO CONVINCE

AMERICA THAT THIS IS STILL WORTH

DOING?

>> JOHN, PEOPLE HAVE TO HAVE

CERTAIN GOALS, CERTAIN THINGS TO

STRIVE FOR, THINGS THEY CAN LOOK

UP TO AND SAY, HEY, IT DID THAT.

TO GIVE UP ON THAT CREAM --

DREAM IS TO GIVE UP ON AMERICA.

>> YEAH, I GUESS.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT, LET ME JUST

TRY SOMETHING A BIT BETTER.

OKAY.

SO YOU GO.

>> ALL PEOPLE NEED TO HAVE

CERTAIN GOALS, SOMETHING TO

STRIVE FOR, AND IN DOING SO, WE

REACHED BEYOND OURSELVES TO

ACHIEVE THAT WHICH WE DID NOT

THINK WAS POSSIBLE, TO GIVE UP

ON THAT DREAM IS TO GIVE UP ON

AMERICA.

>> IT WAS BETTER.

>> I THINK IT WAS PRETTY GOOD.

>> I KNOW, DO FORRSET GUMP.

>> I DON'T TAKE REQUESTS.

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