To infinity and beyond

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.

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4 Responses to To infinity and beyond

  1. Meredith says:

    Great video. I am a little disappointed to learn that Space Camp was not like the movie. For me, I wanted to go into space because of Star Wars, which is quite possibly even more unrealistic than any other dream. I never actually wanted to be an astronaut, I just wanted the world of Star Wars to be possible so I could fly in space.

  2. Mel says:

    I swear, we’re like long-lost twin sisters. A small part of me STILL wants to be an astronaut. And I will never forgive my parents for not sending me to space camp. Stupid girl scouts. >:-(

  3. Hunter W says:

    How has this never come up in conversation between us? We at NASA appreciate your support, and I think you would have been a fantastic astronaut. You still have time, I think most of them today are in their 40s and 50s, so it’s not too late ;).

    And though I too appreciate Charles Bolden’s sentiment (he’s told us to call him Charlie B., and he likes hugs as opposed to handshakes), he has cried during every public address he’s given since he became our administrator a few years ago. It’s become a running joke at NASA really, and the fact that he does it every time makes it hard to believe…especially since he’s a retired General in the Marines. I guess it’s all that repressed emotion from his days in the military that he’s finally getting to let out. Oh well, sorry for the rant.

    Good post, and good video. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

  4. courtney says:

    Me too! Space has always been a sort of hobby of mine. I’m also pretty sad about the end of the space shuttle program, though I think it’s probably the right thing to do at the moment, given our national budget crisis.

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