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Share Your Story • Carl Rustenbeck • November 29, 2012

It's my Parents Fault.

My passion for space started with my parents. My Dad was a scientist (Meteorologist) who instilled in all his children (five of us) a love and respect for all science. My Mom had the heart of an explorer and the soul of a poet who taught us to never stop learning and exploring. I was born in 1963 and my formative years were filled with my family's passion and enthusiasm for the early NASA Space Program. I was too young to comprehend the Gemini Program, however the Apollo Program still shines bright and clear in my memory. On a side note, it was also during this time I watched 'Star Trek' and became a Trekkie. Actually, I am a big Science Fiction fan in general.

Back to real space exploration: I still remember my Mom and Dad rounding us up to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon. This is the event that truly sparked my passion for space. I have never stopped following the exploration of space, both manned and unmanned. I was enthralled by Carl Sagan's Cosmos, read all the newspaper and magazine articles about the Viking and Voyager Missions, cheered at the first launch of the Space Shuttle, and of course I joined The Planetary Society. Even though I became an Historian, my passion of science and space has not diminished. I kept a vigil during the Cassini/Huygens Mission. At work, my fellow employees could not understand my excitement while listening to the sound of the Titan atmosphere rushing by the external microphone during the decent. "It sounds like wind" they said, "Yeah, but it's a methane wind, not nitrogen/oxygen!" I said. The Mars rover missions, New Horizons, and even though Cosmos 1 did not work, I still believe we should continue developing the solar sail. My parents gifts of the love of science and exploration will always burn brightly in my passion for space. Ad Astra Semper Exploro!

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