Just last Wednesday, the space shuttle Discovery touched down after its final voyage. That evening, I heard an interview with former U.S. Senator Jake Garn, who got to fly on Discovery in the 80's. It really brought back that sense of awe I had as a child, when I used to stare up at the stars and wonder what - or who - was out there. Possibly even staring back at me. (Side note: When I was about 10, I went through a phase where I was honestly terrified of being abducted by aliens. That was my proverbial monster in the closet.)
Video Courtesy of KSL.com
Was it coincidence that the SyFy channel decided to run a Star Trek marathon when this was happening? I like to think not. It's sad that NASA has to discontinue the shuttle program. They say it's so they can use the funds to send astronauts beyond low-earth orbit instead, which sounds unbelievably cool - one step closer to Gene Roddenberry's optimistic vision of the future. Let's hope it works out that way.
Whether it's space travel, deep sea exploration, or even storytelling, we're constantly testing the boundaries of our own reality. We have to know, to go beyond, and we'll never be satisfied until we get there. It's human nature. If Starfleet was real, I'd totally sign up. If you're reading this Scotty, beam me up any time. I'm ready.