I love space.
When I was 4, dad woke me up one midnight to watch men walk on the moon. I wanted to be a cowgirl nurse astronaut in space and campaigned hard for a later bedtime to watch Apollo launches. I’ve been a card carrying member of The Planetary Society, starting in 1987. These days, I’ll settle for being a Firefly fan and watching SpaceX launches.
Today as I filmed the card draw and write this, news coverage of the Blue Origin flight with William Shatner aboard is playing in the background. The word “frontiers” came to mind along with the Peter Gabriel song “Games Without Frontiers.
It was a joyride. It was pure tourism. The only science in it was developing the vehicle and procedures. After watching NASA and SpaceX watching this felt like watching baseball players squirt champagne while wearing safety goggles after just watching the Stanley Cup final. But then Mr. Shatner started talking.
As much as I adore science and technology, I equally adore language and powerful communication. The color, the universe, the thinness, the fragility: I can’t begin to sum it up. I urge you all to please, find a tape, listen to him.
The frontier line is different for everyone. Everyone has different skills, experiences, resources.
The experience of that frontier line, wherever it falls relative to other people’s is different as well. For some people, skydiving might be as easy as a trip to the grocery store, for others a trip to the grocery store is as terrifying as skydiving.
It’s one thing for humanity to send scientists and explorers to the frontier. It’s important to fling a poet at space every now and then too. They are the ones who can bring the frontier back to the rest of us.
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