The Way It Was
December 18, 2012
Those born after 1969 have no idea what life was like without space exploration regardless of the motivation that made it happen. Other than the nerd with the coke bottle glass lenses looking through two pieces of ground glass at opposite ends of a tube while wearing a shirt with a full pocket protector, space exploration never happened. The weirdos growing up on Star Trek were first seen as idiots who were social outcasts and living in their own fantasy world. Anyone pursuing a potential career in NASA were just social misfits who can't get a life put together with a mate nor get a real job. The Gov't only gives jobs to idiots, like astronauts. In the parlance of those days, astronuts. I grew up in that mentality but I and thousands of others knew better. Now we are in the billions. We of course endured that social put down. If we had not, you today, our kids in most cases, would not have the technology at the level you do. You would not have weather satellites to give us weather warnings. You would most likely would not have PC's at the level you do and or their spun off technology. Computers may be at their infancy, just in theory, leaving the electro-mechanical state...maybe. Knowledge of extrasolar planets, as a computer result in astronomy, would most likely only exist in Star Trek reruns. You would be walking, talking face to face with friends, driving mechanical cars only, dealing with analogue signalling, using rotary phones, playing with mechanical toys, reading stories for fun on printed paper bound in to bundles called books. All TV stations may still be signing off of the air at FCC ordered times to allow equipment to cool over an 8 hour period, overnight. Nothing to do then but sleep 8 hours. Games were either verbal rules, board or cards unless you created something like a fort out of Dads' winter time log pile or drink cans. No cool jobs. No cool toys. No intriguing things to do electronically like we have now. No way to share our love of space and our dreams it inspired. Those born after 1969 should understand this next point also. Those of us born in 1955 are indebted to the dreamers of our day, Robert Goddard, Werner von Braun,the Original 7, the Gemini Class, Gene Roddenberry and the APOLLO Class. The greatest Gemini Class Astronaut/Pilot in my assessment was Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. Don't believe that the infamous "They" will magically make it happen. That's why the flying car is not here today. "They" are as real today as the Unicorn is. Cloaking was a Star Trek Dream. Today it is real; it is no longer a Unicorn. As you see it is great to dream but don't forget to make it a reality. Then go and enjoy it! If you don't have it you'll need to try asking Uncle Apathy to please give it to you. Thus with out our space exploration spirit our future would eventually return to the mid 1950's when I was born and proceed backward from there.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.