Yesterday I was listening to an NPR piece on the final homes of the soon to be retired space shuttles. It was a very sad piece highlighting the fact that missions were soon over for these much beloved planes, and that Huston, TX would in fact not be getting a plane for their local museum, which seems odd to most astronauts and their families. It definitely tugged at my heart strings.
I was in middle school when a space shuttle carrying a teacher just like my own blew up before my eyes. Even still, my fascination with space exploration, the challenging, rewarding, innovative, and often dangerous missions never ceased. I built a model Challenger, I knew what “O” rings were and what happened when they expanded, and I still thought that someday, if I wanted, I could be an astronaut!
With all of this ending, with missions to space being something done by drones, cameras, and computers. Will my children feel the same way? I’m wondering now how to connect them to this same sense of wonder when they look at the stars, to this feeling that they too might some day visit – or at least dream of visiting the moon. I’m not sure just reading about in books or looking at pictures of it on the internet are the same as watching the countdown, as knowing that the shuttle is up there – orbiting – right above my head. It makes me a bit sad. I really do hope that something new and exciting is there for the next generation. I’m not ready to give up hope just yet.