I was born in November of 1986. 1986 was a very significant year for all astronauts, space enthusiasts and Americans in general.
January 28, 1991, WPLG News Channel 10 in Miami was airing footage of the Challenger disaster to commemorate the fifth anniversary of one of the worst events in American...global space travel. I was four years old. I watched the shuttle launch and, 73 seconds later, it happened. I was fascinated. I immediately turned to my parents and said "I want to be an astronaut when I grow up." That dream has not died. I know that career in NASA is, and always has been, out of the question. I lack the math skills, among many other things, to make myself a desirable candidate. It has not stopped me from reading, studying, watching videos and movies on the subject. In 1995, the movie that still reigns as my favorite came out. Apollo 13. I absolutely love that movie, and even still choke up when Jim Lovell's voice breaks through the static with "hello, Houston, this is Odyssey, it's good to see you again."
My schooling career was not a bad one, considering the district I went to school in. I wasn't the "model student" and I wasn't exceptional by any means. Teachers never gave me much thought and I was usually greeted with laughter when I mentioned my desire to be an astronaut. After a time, I learned that it was best to keep it to myself. I excelled in all my science classes, but I never really stood out.
The private advancements in space exploration were not as common then as they are today. I personally think it is a better idea to go back to the moon and colonise it first before going to Mars. I have a great idea of what can be done, a notion of "how" to do it, and an overwhelming desire to live in a lunar colony. It is much closer to home, we can work out the kinks and issues before we send people to a place where we will have no idea if something goes wrong for twenty minutes. The moon is 1/4 of a second for communication and would take between nine hours and four days to reach if needed.
I am a colossal nerd, in many ways. I love Star Trek AND Star Wars, I play Dungeons and Dragons every week, I regularly watch How the Universe Works, Space's Deepest Secrets...basically any space documentary I can watch on Science or Curiosity Stream. I have watched Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos though Carl Sagan's run is becoming harder and harder to find.
While I fully support space exploration, I also know that, realistically, the homo Sapien species will not proceed past the solar system. It is inevitable that long-term evolution will happen again. The mass extinctions of the past show this. Either modern humans will evolve into something different or most life on Earth will be wiped out. The way things look, we might do that ourselves but space is a very large, very dark place. Whomever leaves the sun's influence, it is not likely to be us.
Live Long, and Prosper \\//,
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