So it is finally 2010, and even though we are definitely living in the future, Dr. Heywood Floyd is not the ex-Chair of the National Council for Astronautics in the US, nor is he the Chancellor of the University of Hawaii. But there is no more Soviet Union, and no Chinese space station poised to become a manned Jupiter-bound spacecraft. Sadly, there is no derelict spaceship called Discovery parked at a Lagrange point in the orbit of Io around Jupiter, close to a vast black monolith of non-human origin. Even more sadly, there is no series of giant wheel-shaped space stations around the Earth, nor is there a regular Earth-Moon cargo and passenger service supporting a vast industrial complex at Clavius which doesn't exit, and an excavation site at Tycho which also doesn't exit.
What we do have is the beginning of an interplanetary internet, and a recession that is ending although for regular people rather than large, wealthy corporate entities, the reality of that ending will take longer to realize.
We also have two little rovers called Spirit and Opportunity on Mars. From Geoffrey A. Landis, science fiction author and NASA Rocket Scientist, here are
New Year's resolutions for the Opportunity rover:
1. I will get more exercise. In the new year, I will try to take a long walk every day!
2. I'll do some travelling this year. Visit new places, see new things!
3. I will stop making fun of my big sister Spirit for being a stick-in-the-mud. She says it isn't funny any more (even though it is).
4. I promise to call home every day, even if I don't have much to say.
5. And I will be an obedient rover and do everything my people tell me to, because I'm a nice rover, not like my sister who just lies around all day like a slug.
6. And I hope everybody in my family has a real real real good new year, too! (Even Spirit). Best ever!