Monday, July 13, 2009

New Boss at NASA: Part I

In the first part of my Screaming Ramble about the new NASA director Charles Bolden, I neglected to mention what in the i09 blog caused me to want to write in the first place. What made the topic personal to me was a quote by Mr. Bolden. He mentioned that when he would tour schools in 1980, and asked who wanted to be an astronaut, every hand went up. But, if he asks the same question today, he might see three hands.

This took me back to high school and junior high and grade school. I graduated high school in 1982 and at that time, would have still answered yes to the question, about wanting to be an astronaut, but if you would have asked me when I was in grade school it would have been emphatically yes. Once I got into college my ambitions changed, I started taking a harder look at life and what I wanted to do with it. The first shuttle disaster occurred, Challenger disintegrated shortly after launch, January 1986, and with this occurrence my feelings about being an astronaut changed. I can?t say that it was this event particular, it was a culmination of thoughts and feelings, being an astronaut had lost its maverick appeal, and with the disaster it felt more like a tragic commuter accident than humans testing the bonds of Earth. Not to mention the cold war was thawing and the Soviet Union was no longer the threat they once were. Space just didn?t have its allure.

I have high expectations for Mr. Bolden. One: that he will lead NASA out of Low Earth Orbit and back into the business of space exploration. Two: that he will lead the nation in desiring space exploration, bringing back that sense of wonder that everyone had when they saw Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

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