No Interstellar Future For YouSure, when the Soviets launched Sputnik, it made us frantic. But then we lost the thrill of the race. Just ask astronomer Stuart Atkinson:

The Space Age is dead, it died of starvation and neglect, somewhere around 1980. Yes, we fed it and gave it money while it was young, and exciting, and sexy, while our love for it was bright and new, but when it got older, and needed more expensive care and more of our time and understanding we guided it to a comfy chair over on the far side of the room, made it a cup of tea, handed it a magazine and left it to look after itself

Atkinson, who founded the Cockermouth Astronomical Society, says we got distracted by the allure of the Information Age. Soon we were out partying with our shiny iPods and googling ourselves in the corner, while the Space Age faded away. (Mostly I just wanted an excuse to say "Cockermouth.")

John Seiler has another explanation: "Funny how the "Space Age" ended about the time that alien creature burst from the guy's chest in "Alien" in 1979."

Space Age: RIP [via Cumbrian Sky] [Image by Getty Images]