In July I did a post on the 45th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. I shared my hopes as a kid about the American space program and my excitement about the future. It was bittersweet as I’d thought, back in the 70’s, that we would have achieved much more by now, maybe a lunar colony, or even a trip to Mars.
The opening credits to the 60’s T.V. show Star Trek summed up my thoughts at that time on our future. Captain James T. Kirk’s (William Shatner) narration, speaking of the original mission:
“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
So I was thrilled today when I heard the news that NASA has announced it’s awarded contracts to Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, and The Boeing Company, to transport American astronauts to the International Space Station. Charles Bolden, a NASA Administrator said that this “promises to be the most ambitious and exciting chapter in the history of NASA and human spaceflight.” Contracting out to these commercial companies will allow NASA to “focus on an even more ambitious mission” Bolden said, referring to sending astronauts to an asteroid and on to Mars.
Not only am I filled with anticipation about the possibilities of renewed space exploration, I see this as a new door into reviving the space voyager, the “Hero” that inspires us to achieve great things.
In his book, 7 Men, best selling biographer Eric Metaxas says “we need heroes and role models.” He goes on to say “Having role models and heroes was historically a vital way of helping a new generation know what it should be aiming at.”
Genuine heroes Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell, and fictional heroes Kirk and Spock, Skywalker and Solo – these will find a new company of space explorers and conquerors of space to join them in the Popular Culture.
New visionaries will come to be linked to Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Edwin Hubble, President Kennedy, Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas.
As I said in my earlier post, “NASA and the Apollo program inspired me to look to the stars, to a future based firmly in reality but with a little imagination, a future looking more and more like Star Trek and Star Wars.”
NASA’s announcement – Thrilling news, indeed!
“It isn’t all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.”
― Gene Roddenberry