Monday, May 16, 2011

Ending of an Era

Today may well be the last flight for Endeavor. (depending on the weather).
I have loved our space program from the very beginning when Alan Shepard made his historic fifteen minute flight in space. I still can easily envision it in my mind... I was in high school and they stopped everything and put it over the loud speakers. As I would wind up doing for all the early space flights..I cried. I was so relieved when he made splashdown that I cried. I cry now. But now it's not "just" for the last flight of Endeavor that I am sad, but for the ending of the space program. Oh, I know NASA will muddle on as best it can, but for most intents and purposes it's come to a screeching halt, and I couldn't be sadder.
I was amazingly blessed when NASA had the original Astronauts do an autograph show and it came to NJ. As with all their blastoffs and splashdowns, when I walked into the room where they all sat I felt small and insignificant.. I knew I was in the presence of real live heroes. And I would never feel this way again.
Over these many (many!) years, they have all remained my heroes..
I wish I could say that I knew the names of all the brave shuttle Astronauts, but I don't. However, that doesn't make them any less heroes. There's not a time we don't need heroes, and it's heartbreaking that the Astronauts of today will no longer will no longer have a space program.
I am a firm believer that we live on an unstable planet and moving out into space is not a luxury, not a race, but a necessity if mankind is to survive.  (We may well be getting a few "hints" in all the natural disasters that have been happening all over the world.)  No, I don't think Earth will kill off humanity any time soon... but at the same time I pray that we find a way to safety before it happens.  Will I be alive to see it?  No.  But I believe that this is an instance that gambling all will be well is not an option.
Ah well.. those are my thoughts.  I've always felt this way and I guess I always will.  I feel we are very wrong in not going back to the moon.  Maybe not making a space station ON the moon.  But at least learning and developing a more secure vehicle to get our men back. To make it safer before going out even farther into space...
.......which really is "our final frontier".
Below are 2 photo's that are probably the highlight of my life...

1 comment:

Cath said...

I honestly can't believe they're giving up completely on the space programme. That's crazy. I agree with all you said, Pat... we *need* to be able to leave this planet if it becomes necessary. Probably not for thee and me but maybe for our grandkid's grandkids. Who knows. But it's very short-sighted of them to stop space exploration and I hate it too.