I wasn’t alive when the Space Age began. A part of me wishes very much that I was – those days must have been filled with hope and curiosity. I think that if I was a child in those days, I would have spent a great deal of time lying on the grass and looking at the sky, hoping to see a space ship. It’s the stuff that science-fiction is made of.
A great deal of my research for my WIP, Paradox, has revolved around learning the history of space exploration – everything from the history of Kennedy Space Center to the explosion of Columbia. So as I listened to reporters on MSNBC Tuesday night talk about Discovery’s last flight, and how she will shortly be in her new home, on display in the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space… I cannot help to feel as though with Discovery’s grounding and the true, undeniable end of the Space Age as we know it… many dreams are dying.
Jules Verne put man on the moon dozens of years before science even dreamed it was possible. Humanity has always had the ability to maintain hope in its dreams, despite the actual reality. Obviously with the termination of the Space Program, NASA isn’t going to settle us on the moon any time soon, but that doesn’t mean we cannot hope, dream… and create. I hope that even though it may seem that the children who want to grow up to be astronauts will never have that chance… they will still dream about it, and read about it.
There was no way Verne could have known mankind would every make it to space when he wrote From the Earth to the Moon, but that didn’t stop him from writing the book. Even though our imaginations may no longer be titillated with teasers of the place where “no man has gone before,” it doesn’t mean that one of us cannot be the next Jules Verne. May the world of science-fiction never die.
I know that officially, the Space Shuttle Program (as least in that it included humans manning the ships) ended last July… but it’s strange to see them all go to new permanent homes. And for me, it’s sad. The Shuttle Program was always a source of inspiration for me (thus Paradox relying heavily on it).
For those who missed the commentary and footage about Discovery and the other space shuttles heading to their new homes in museums, the video footage can be seen by clicking this link: Space Shuttle Discovery’s Final Flight.