Several weeks ago, I had a contest on this blog to celebrate my acquiring 20 followers. (My milestones are more like milepebbles, but I still celebrate.) The winners were my friends Rachel and Alex. As the winners, they got to write guest entries for this blog, so here's what Rachel has to say about science fiction and the final space shuttle launch. (Alex, check your email!)
The Final Frontier: An Homage to NASA and SciFi
In Childhood's End (1953), Arthur C Clarke writes about a future world in which mankind acheived the dream of landing on the moon in the early 70s. Today I suspect he's rolling over in his grave. Where has our sense of adventure gone!? Where has our desire for scientific exploration and advancement gone!? I am extremely saddened to live in a country where these things that are so important to me are cast aside in favor of corporate greed. Total cost of the NASA Space Shuttle program was $196 billion; the total cost of the AIG, Citigroup, and Bank of America bailouts is more than $600 billion.
In my time I’ve been very fortunate to see many of my dreams come true! Growing up in the 1920s and 1930s, I never expected to see so much happen in the span of a few decades. We "space cadets" of the British Interplanetary Society spent all our spare time discussing space travel — but we didn’t imagine that it lay in our own near future… I still can't quite believe that we've just marked the 50th anniversary of the Space Age! We’ve accomplished a great deal in that time, but the "Golden Age of Space" is only just beginning. Over the next 50 years, thousands of people will travel to Earth orbit — and then, to the Moon and beyond. Space travel — and space tourism — will one day become almost as commonplace as flying to exotic destinations on our own planet. ~ Arthur C Clarke, 2007
I grew up watching Star Wars and Star Trek. My 70s VHS collection of Star Trek (the original series) that I inherited from my Grandpa is one of my most prized possessions. As I grew older, I spent hours reading SciFi from Grand Masters Bradbury, Heinlein, and Clarke. Learning about our solar system and space travel in science class was like stepping foot in one of these stories - anything seemed possible.
Today, however, I feel like a part of my childhood died and that some of those endless possibilites have faded away. I hope that I'm not alone in feeling this way, and I hope that someday soon humans will once again explore The Final Frontier.