Thursday, October 4, 2007

Twice Over, or Happy Birthday Sputnik

Fifty years. That's the entirety of my life, twice over. Eighteen thousand two hundred sixty two days have passed since Sputnik I advanced the human race from mere aviators into explorers of the infinite. What, precisely, has happened to us in the intervening years?

We have, I'm sorry to say, lost our ambition for space. I'm told that Americans in the late 1950s became awestruck at the faint radio signal emanating from Sputnik's antennae. There was a palpable sense of national urgency to "beat the Russians." That spirit began its ascension with the creation of NASA, continued with the rock-star-like Mercury Seven, and climaxed with Apollo 11's landing on the Moon. It took only twelve years to go from Russia's first step into space to America's first step on the Moon.

Since those days, however, the idea of space has faded into obscurity. Despite repeated launches over the years, the names and visages of today's astronauts, cosmonauts, and taikonauts are completely invisible to the public eye. Why do we continue to give copious amounts of screen time to the likes of Paris Hilton and Flavor Flav? Instead, it seems that the only requirement for attention to space activities is loss of life.

My intent is to break this mold. The first step for me is to publicize my astronaut application process through this blog. Once selected for duty, I will continue updating this blog, but I will also try to reach out to the most important people in the space program: children with dreams. They are responsible for the next fifty years. I hope that by the time my body is accelerating at a terrifying pace towards the dark void of space, the world will once again look up in awe. Garnering a scant 15 second clip on a cable news station would be a greater failure than not making it into the astronaut program.

OK. Time for me to get off my soapbox. I encourage you to read tomorrow's entry, where I will pay homage to some of the past astronauts.

1 comment:

Marie said...

Nice alternate title ;)