Saturday, May 30, 2020

Back to Space

I'm pumped! I'm excited! This is a great day - America, with the partnership of the SpaceX company, is back in space.

I'm a true child of the 60s. I was hooked on the whole Race to the Moon thing. My dad had read science fiction as a kid, and was completely captivated by the idea that man could explore outer space. Dad hadn't even riden in an airplane till the mid-60s. But he believed in the possibility.

I used to listen to Dad and his brother talk; Uncle Junior worked for a Columbus-based part of Bell Telephone (not sure just quite what his job was, but he'd visit and tell Dad of all the incredible things they were doing at work). Uncle Junior was the one that first got me excited about ham radio; it was after his funeral that I decided to follow up on a long-held dream of getting a license.

But, I, like so many of my classmates, was fascinated by the astronauts and the many engineers and technicians that worked together to make the missions happen. We would be sitting in class, and the teachers would turn on the radio, and we'd work (or pretend to), while we'd listen for that 5-4-3-2-1 countdown that signaled another launch. I guess I was geekier than I realized; most of the other girls were ho-hum about the whole thing.

One of the high points of my father's life was when we, along with a dozen or so of our neighbors, sat in our living room, and watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon.

I was at work, serving lunch when Apollo 13 returned to Earth. After that, my personal life took precedence, and I barely noticed the space program's slow death. I was teaching science when the Hubble was launched, and during the ISS completion and early days of use. So, my involvement in following it was related to what I taught. NASA was always a great resource - we lived in Cleveland, OH, and could easily access lots of materials and curriculum from them.

I've toured NASA, including the back parts of the facility - it helps to be a science teacher.

With any luck, before I die, man will have reached Mars, and begun to establish colonies. Obviously, the moon would be where the kinks are worked out in procedures, equipment, and protocols. It's where experiments with growing food, providing water and fuel, and other needed supplies would be figured out.

But, yes. Mars, please. And soon.

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