My love of space started by watching the original Star Trek television series. I was captivated by the idea that there were whole worlds beyond the Earth to learn about and explore.
When I was ten years old, the Viking Landers went to Mars and suddenly, I saw pictures of a real planet. It looked so much like the Southern California desert where I was from that it couldn't help but be real, but so lifeless, it couldn't help but be alien. It was almost certainly then that I decided space exploration had to be part of my life.
I remember watching the original Cosmos on TV a few years after it was released. I was quickly awestruck by the beauty and vastness of the Universe and especially by the fact that all the things I knew were deeply connected to it. Everything impeccably unravelled by Sagan's voice. That sense of connection hit the right buttons and even though I did not quite know how to deal with it at the time, that mesmerizing feeling grew over the years and became something important that we all should cultivate: the capacity to detect poetry and magic in the natural world.
In 1950, at the age of eleven, Walt Disney's movie "Destination Moon" started my interest in space. Later, as a White Sands Proving Grounds Co-op New Mexico A&M physics major, my interest was further peaked upon seeing Russia's sputnik go overhead every 90 minutes. It was during my first work phase at WSPG my high school typing skills had me typing a hand written paper on the possibility of launching a basketball sized satellite using a Army ballistic missile. When I asked why they had not returned the paper to me for corrections and finalization, I was told it had ... more »