Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 13, 2011

Ending Without A Thought

I agree that we may not be a nation of space junkies – though we do like sci-fi movies – but how many of us were paying attention over the weekend to what was heralded as the end of an era with the last shuttle launch on Friday?

For those as old as me – well at least cognizant enough at the time – do you remember where you were on July 20 1969 when man first walked on the moon? There are some things in life you remember with clarity. For me it is exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard that Eric Williams died. Similarly, on July 20, 1969 I was by a friend’s house next door to where I was living at the time when his mother, who loved a radio (God bless her soul), called us to listen about this ‘space thing’… If I was in my own house I would have probably missed it…

I remember it was still daylight, so it had to be while they were still travelling because the first moon walk was in the night. But still, it fired our imagination. My friends and I looking up at the moon that evening and imagining what it would be like to be there… Uh, we didn’t understand too much about gravity and no oxygen, but we were thinking that it must be fun!

So after 40 odd years – 30 of which NASA ran a space shuttle programme – it comes to an end… Yes, I know it was too much money to imagine, but I thought that I would see colonizing of moons and planets by the time I was ready to leave this earth. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. At least in my lifetime…

But when the enormity of this ‘pause on discovery’ really hit, I remembered an old West Wing episode (I looked it up – Season 2, Episode 9, Galileo) with Sam Seaborn (played by Rob Lowe) justifying the rationale for spending on a space programme, and in the episode, going to Mars:

‘Cause it’s next… ‘Cause we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill, and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean, and we pioneered the West, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration, and this is what’s next.”

If you have ever sat at the edge of the sea and looked out to the horizon and marveled about the yearning in man to so discover that he will brave the dangers to go out there, then you understand what I am speaking of. In most likely a hollowed log and a paddle in his hand – wow… It is the way we should be instead of wrapping our heads only in petty and mundane issues. The discovery of the person and the power within is also a fascinating journey that few of us are brave enough to take…

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