Over the past few days I’ve had to come to terms with a huge realization in my life. It can be equated to
- No longer a virgin
- Crushed childhood dreams
- Oh $hit! What do I do with my life now?
What am I saying all of this silly stuff about? Why write such a title for this post? It all goes back to Wayne Hale’s post the other day. He is right you know. I have been tossing words around my head for weeks now. But, it wasn’t until he posted his thoughts that I admitted something to myself. Something huge.
I am no longer a naive dreamer.
And this saddens me deeply.
Last week, Camilla SDO wrote this nice post about me. As a baby, my dad would hold me in his arms while watching Star Trek. I didn’t know this until just a few years ago but it explains so much. I’ve always felt that space exploration was my calling, that it is something that I was meant to do. It’s not just a passion that is excited through the unknown, engineering challenges, and scientific discoveries, but by the dream that we were really going to go out there. To explore. To stay.
On February 1st, 2010 and the weeks that followed I joked that I felt NASA had broken up with me. It was partly true.
Last week when the House accepted the Senate’s version of the FY2011 Budget (Authorization) for NASA I knew it was game over. Why? I refer you back to Wayne Hale’s post. It’s happened time and time again. Plus, don’t forget the Administration wants a 5% budget cut across non-essential agencies of which NASA is included. So the $19B that NASA may get is going to be 5% less yet they will be tasked with a tall order.
NASA is NASA and the men and women who make up that agency (civil servants and contractors) do their best to meet every tall order given to them by changing Congress’ and Administrations.
So in reality, it wasn’t NASA that broke up with me. It was my government. Or was it? Hasn’t this always been my government? Hasn’t this always been a reality? Space Exploration is not done to explore, push our boundaries, to move mankind off or planet. It’s politics. Has been since Sputnik launched in 1957 shocking and scaring a planet. It’s war. Has been since WWII and the V2 rocket.
I’ve always been the dreamer. The one to say anything is possible if only you put your mind to it. I was told I wasn’t going to college unless I found a way to pay for it. I sat in front of my Congressman’s committee my senior year in high school and told him why he should send me to a Military Academy – in essence because of my passion for space exploration. I got the nomination. He then continued to vote against the continuation of the space station. I felt like a double standard and left the Prep School at one of the Academies for many reasons. One of them being I couldn’t be there because someone didn’t believe in what I believed in for our country. Space exploration.
Where are we today? We have a Congress that’s primary purpose is to save jobs in their districts. An Administration that confuses me. And we are not on a path to truly explore space.
I no longer think we can get *there* in my lifetime. And for this I am sad.
So I mourn. And then I write this post.
So, now that I am an adult it’s time to take matters into my own hands. I wonder, is this what New Space did all those years ago? Am I finally awakening? Can it be done without the government holding our dreams back?