Sorry I haven’t done a Music Monday since March. I’ve been a bit busy. This isn’t a post about music. It’s about me and something I love dearly.
I’ve been thinking about space a lot since this year started. Mars, Pluto, our Sun, The Moon, deep space, new planets, and yes even astroids that will someday soon be captured and studied.
Here’s the thing, it’s about 2:20 am right now so I’m a bit frazzled and probably need a lot more sleep than I’ve got. I’ve always thought of space as the ultimate destination for me, the best vacation ever. And don’t get me wrong, but I still think of it that way. But my hope that it’s something I’ll really get to do has been slowly dwindling. My hope that one day I’ll stand on a bridge or on the observation deck much like the one on the USS Enterprise in Star Trek is slowly going away.
Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about space and learning about stars and such. Heck, I’m taking an astronomy course in the fall and another the semester after that and maybe more if I can. Thing is, I’ve thought about space ever since 3rd grade. I wanted to be an astronaut back then. My teachers both science and literature can testify to that. My language teacher sometimes gave me copies of “Astronomy” magazine to read. Those were the most interesting to me. I suppose that’s another reason why I’m a communication major now.
That was also the year we lost 7 men and women to the Columbia disaster. I honestly didn’t know what to think at point when I first heard about it. For a while I was just trying to figure things out, much like everyone else. Then I turned to writing. I wrote a book, I should say it was more of booklet about the Columbia Disaster. I don’t remember where it is, but I fondly remember reading over it and sitting down with our principal to type it up. I might have that wrong since my memory is a bit fuzzy. I don’t know if I still have it, it must be someplace around here. But it gave me a bit of a sense of closing. I didn’t know those brave souls, but I knew (and still know) their dream. It was something we shared. It’s something we all share actually, the need for exploration and the restless curiosity.
I kept space near and dear as I grew, keeping up with new advancements findings and missions. My sophomore year of high school I was given the chance to reunite with space in a sense. Native Houstonian astronaut Shannon Walker hosted a video contest for students to send in videos about why they thought we should explore space. I’m not exactly sure how, but I won the high school category. (video below with link to press release)
The prize for winning was two parts – getting to watch her take her first flight into space from JSC and then a presentation after she returned. I was unable to attend the viewing of the flight launch because I was overseas on vacation.
Later that year when she returned to Earth, in lieu of me not being able to attend the viewing, I was given the opportunity to tour Johnson Space Center. Of course the other winners had all the press and photo stuff to do on their tours, but since I didn’t have to deal with any of that, I got a bit of longer and more in depth tour. It was hands down one of the best moments of my life. Seeing, touching, just being in those rooms with the equipment and mock-ups was simply amazing. Learning about the uses of each one was simply breathtaking. I mean I got to sit in an actual shuttle mock up, stand in a mock up of the ISS, touch the very same panels that monitored Apollo missions. Looking back on it, I know that I will probably never have that chance again, and I am glad I got to do it. I, along with the other winners, were given Expedition 24/25 patches and an American Flag that were flown in space.
That might be the closest I’ll ever get to touching space.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for astronauts to be in space. Not just to see the stars but the our spaceship Earth. Maybe one day I will, maybe I won’t, but you see, the thing is, that I’m not writing this to brag about myself or cry about my dreams that might never be. I’m writing this so that one day I have a story to tell about my first love and how it has inspired me and allowed me to do great things that I never dreamed I could.
That’s the thing about space, it inspires us, perplexes our minds, drives our ambitions and just amazes us. I feel as though we’ve lost our sense of adventure, our sense of wonder. There’s literally billions and billions of wonderful discoveries out there waiting to be found. Get outside and look around, you’re on a spaceship, it’s name Earth. Take care of it, you’ve only got one. At least for now. Get out side, look to the night sky. You’re made of that stardust up there. Dream of something amazing. I might not ever reach those stars, but I won’t stop dreaming about them. I hope that no one ever does stop dreaming about them.
My video: Generations Dreams’
A Few photos:
Also, a quick thank you to my teachers who have inspired me since 3rd grade. I am not who am without these amazing people.
Note: I might come back and edit this later so it actually makes more sense and isn’t written at 3:15 in the morning. Maybe I’ll find that booklet too.