Forward scientific exploration to make SF dreams a reality
November 28, 2013
Very difficult to pinpoint exactly what prompted me to become a member of the Planetary Society. Certainly it wasn't only a beautiful picture from space. It were many - and there were a lot of other reasons.
Becoming interested in space exploration, before the Planetary Society was founded, when I was 12 years old and extremely thrilled by watching the Apollo 11 landing on the moon - I also think SF stories by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury and Herbert W. Franke (who is probably less known in the US) did spark a lot of imagination with me.
I avidly watched TV features on astronomy by Heinz Haber - who was well known in Germany in the 1970s but probably not internationally - and read books from Bruce Murray and other space enthusiasts of that time and even wished to become involved in space exploration myself.
But space kept my imagination, be it speculations about the strange "metallic hydrogen" in the cores of Jupiter or Saturn or - after the Voyagers brought back the astounding pictures of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn - the chemistry of the volcanoes on Io or what hides behind Titan's veil.
Years after my early love for Science Fiction it occurred to me that Science beats Fiction with every new space probe launched. This picture Voyager 1 took of Io seems more alien to me than many planet descriptions in science fiction novel.
And then came the great movie "Contact" which was a lot more based on science than fiction and which led me to run SETI@home on my computer for years, in the end lead my to become a member of the Planetary Society. At last an affordable way to be part of space exploration even though my job has nothing to do with it.
For me it comes down to this: The most important thing that the Planetary Society has ever done is getting ordinary people INVOLVED - it makes such a difference doing a small part of space science yourself or only watching pretty pictures and science features on TV or on the internet!
Thanks a lot for making this possible!
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.