As a 6 or 7 year old in the early 1950's, my dad got me hooked on the sky by bringing home some really cool poster sized maps of the solar system. My older and younger siblings didn't seem to care but I was totally fascinated, often thereafter staying out after dark and just looking at the stars. paragraph As luck would have it as the 50's rolled on the great Space Race got rolling, too, with the quest to put a satelite in orbit, achieved first by Sputnik and it's haunting beep...beep...beep. About that time I was given my first telescope for Christmas, a very flimsy and blurry cardboard refractor, which made me a space explorer and scientist, in my mind anyway. paragraph And it was all pure exitement and knowledge and wonder as people went into space, orbited earth and then actually landed on the moon (may Neil Armstrong rest in peace). And that was followed with so many missions of discovery and technological marvels like the Shuttles and Hubble that have kept me in humble awe of this nearly unfathomable universe, such that to this day I still have trouble keeping my jaw from dragging on the floor. And much much more awaits. paragraph Today, I eagerly await Curiosity's photos and findings, with more missions operational and in the planning stages. And this all started for me with an early 50's solar system map - my dad played the right chord. And I haven't stopped strumming the "night fantastic" since.
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