Yup - I remember when Nerd and Geek were serious, nasty insults.
I was, am, and expect to remain fully nerdy, for real, long after the trend of the moment has passed us by.
When the shuttle program ends, it will be the end of the US manned space flight program.
I think this is probably the real summary - the USA basically can't afford space operations beyond satellite launch/maintenance anymore. Nerdy dreams to to the contrary, it's all over.
The torch will be passed to someone else, probably in a decade or two. Likely the Chinese, but who knows.
In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982