I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it’s been a while. From about 1994 through about early 2000 or so, I really, really, really wanted to be an astronaut. The impetus was all the Apollo 11 talk on its 25th anniversary and the desire was fed by Apollo 13, both the book and movie. I did a research paper on the Challenger disaster. I went to Space Camp (it was not much like the movie of the same name). I saved ever Newsweek article written about NASA during that time. I studied my options. Declared that I would attend college — likely Purdue or Mississippi State — to study aeronautical engineering. Then took Advanced Placement Calculus and Physics and gave up on the dream in the most spectacular of fashions my senior year of high school. It was (probably) the right thing to do.
Still, I’m entranced by the occasional news report on space exploration, and there have been plenty lately with the end of the space shuttle program drawing nearer. David Pogue, the NY Times’ technology writer who has a slight theater background, does a great job of wrapping complex stories and issues into easily digested bites, and had a great piece a few Sundays ago on CBS Sunday Morning on the shuttle program. It’s a really, really good piece, and you can watch it here.
I really appreciate the moment in the piece when NASA Administrator Charles Bolden becomes emotional. I have felt that way about space exploration too, and I hope as he does that we will soon see the day where humans go beyond Earth’s orbit again. Those are the missions that have always held my fancy, and I want one to happen during my own lifetime.