Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Say It Ain't So...



This mug is my souvenir from the launch of Atlantis STS-135 on July 8. Seeing a shuttle launch was a dream come true for me. But the last American shuttle comes home to earth in less than 24 hours. I am replete with nostalgia, overwhelmed with frustration.

When I was five years old, I met Buzz Aldrin, who landed on the moon at the same time as Neil Armstrong, then took communion on the moon (!!!), before walking on it. When I met him, he knelt down and asked me my name, then scrawled on a glossy 8x10 color photo of him by the American flag:

Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon.
- Buzz Aldrin

Thus began my fascination with the moon, space, NASA, planets, nebulae. I still haven't gotten over Pluto's dismissal as a planet. We can't just give it away like that... it's not fair. Our solar system is a family--like first cousins once removed (Jupiter's moons) and crazy uncles with big facial moles (Jupiter itself) and the aunt who has been married too many times (Saturn).

So it's hard for me to watch this season come to an end. Grounding the shuttles and sending them off to museums... it's like saying we're not going to have family reunions anymore, because it's too much trouble for grandma to make the trip these days. So, instead, let's just be Facebook friends with everyone. What's the point?

It's so hard to move backward. Obama says we're moving forward. Maybe to Mars. Unmanned. Unmanned? Those expeditions are the facebook photos of space travel. I want more than that. I pray to God that other countries keep people in orbit if we can't. Do it, Japan. Go for it, Russia.

My poet's heart says space will take it hard. It will feel like the black sheep and will pack up the moon and the stars and all its things and just disappear because we have rejected it. I don't want to look up at an empty sky on the 22nd.

The space program costs the average American $93 per year. I would gladly pay astronomical gas prices (pun intended), if Obama would just give us back the sky.

I really, really hate this. Seriously, desperately sad about it.

2 comments:

Karen said...

Well said, friend.....

Chip Gorman said...

Appreciate the passion. I grew up watching from the beach as the Apollo missions launched but moved to college as the Shuttle program began. Dad glued tiles on the shuttle for 20 years before retiring. Sis works as engineer at KSC, whole career. They are sad and frustrated too. Hopefully someone with some vision will come up with a viable program.

And where are our jet-packs?