Jan. 28th, 2013

arcanelegacy: (engage)
Yesterday was the 46th Anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire.

Today is the 27th Anniversary of the Challenger explosion.

This Friday marks the 10th Anniversary of the Colombia tragedy.

I think it's safe to say that this is not a happy week for NASA.

But all is not lost, I feel. Every year around this time I tend to sit back and marvel at just how far we've come. In just over 60 years we went from our first manned flight with heavier-than-air craft to putting men on the moon. For humanity that was - literally - a giant leap. And though we have retired our space shuttles and reduced NASA's funding, since these tragedies we have put rovers on Mars - two of which even continued to function and return data long after their expected lifespans. We are discovering exoplanets at an astonishing rate. Private companies have successfully launched what may be the precursors to a whole new generation of space shuttles. We watched a man fall to earth from the very edge of space - successfully!

Though we have not returned to the moon in decades, we are not done exploring the stars. No, we are not done. And it is in part because the brave, bold, fiery spirits that inhabited all those astronauts are still here, still burning.

I salute our astronauts. I salute the brave men and women who are willing to put their lives at risk for the advancement of our species as a whole. The future is out there, and my opinion has always been that astronauts - people like Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee, Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik - will be the people who push us towards it.

It is my hope that we will go back to the moon someday, and then go on to Mars and the solar system and the stars beyond our own.

And we will go there because our astronauts will make it so.


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