Space shuttle and Apollo program

I remember the first moon landing.  It was a VERY big deal in our family since we are natives of the home town of the first man to walk on the mood.  Neil Armstrong grew up in our community and everybody was up watching the first landing on the moon.

I remember that the arrival on the moon and the first moon walk impacted the mind of our culture in a way that nothing else in my short life had.  We were no longer a people who had never left the planet, we were suddenly a people who could someday reach the stars– and the first steps were achieved.  It became a part of my understanding of the world and everything that followed was no surprise at all because of course we would keep going to space.

I didn’t get as excited until the Space Shuttle program went into service.  Suddenly we were no longer only sending up rockets that had to splash down, we were going up, returning and doing it again!  SO much progress, and a new space station, and a robot on Mars.  The shuttle was important enough that the TV rooms all over campus would be tuned to every take off and landing.

Wonderful things.  Times change and the LAST shuttle is making its LAST flight.  It is another ending. NASA is downsizing, more change.

I remember the moonwalk, the shuttle crashes, the spacewalks, the building of the space station, films from Mars.  Amazing events as humanity reached for space. It is time to move on now, to seek new paths to space.

I have hopes though that the government will stay out of the way of the private sector and allow for private interests to fund and create new space programs.  There will be so much to watch, so much to spawn imagination and dreams for the future.  There is a lot to imagine, a lot that is possible.

I hope I live to see the first Mars walk.  The first mining operation on an asteroid. Robotic explorers on farther planets. Perhaps even one of my own children will dive into physics and find themselves working to achieve the stars.

Dreams are good, dreams being worked to make real are even better.  I tip my hat to the dreamers who work in physics labs and robotic labs around the world– the future will happen through their efforts– and the efforts of the dreamers working in basements and garages to build their dreams as well.

“Be not afraid.” said Blessed John Paul the Great.  It is a good statement and one that is appropriate for the future of man in space.  Be not afraid.

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