What happens to astronauts if there's a problem at launch? Right now, the answer is that they blow up inside the shuttle if something horrendous happens, but NASA is working on changing that. Their Emergency Egress System concept would let endangered astronauts fly 350 feet down from the shuttle on a mini rollercoaster, all in a mere 4.5 seconds.
It sounds pretty terrifying to me, but I guess if you were already planning to get shot into space on the back of a gigantic rocket, a little roller coaster won't really phase you. Will we actually see this thing built at Cape Canaveral? NASA claims that yes, they'll have this bad boy up and running by 2012, just in time for Orion, the successor to the space shuttle, to use it. Could space travel get any more sweet? I say no.