Personal Post: Space

I was struggling to come up with a topic for today’s article, so I figured I’d go back to one of the semi-series of articles I started in the form of personal posts that talk about something about me or one of my interests. There is quite a long list of randomly different things that I find intriguing, and while exploring our emotions and philosophies and other such things is certainly worthwhile, sometimes it’s nice to just talk about something that makes us tick. Taking a break from the seriousness of the world is necessary to keep from going insane.

Since I was a child, I’ve always had a fascination with space exploration. I grew up watching shows like Star Trek and movies like Space Camp and obviously Star Wars. Aside from the fact that the stories associated with these were designed to spark an interest in worlds beyond our own, there was just something intensely interesting about the idea of zipping around the galaxy in a spaceship. Of course, I’ve always spent a significant portion of my life in a world other than the real one we live in here, from fantasy novels to science fiction movies to any other number of different stories.

Aside from the escape from reality factor, however, as I became an adult and started learning more about things like cosmology my interest in anything space related only grew. I was fascinated to learn about things like gravity and supernovas and black holes and myriad other phenomena that exist in our universe. Every new piece of information grabs my attention, especially when we learn something new that we thought wasn’t possible before.

What is truly amazing is that we are at the beginning of a new age of exploration, and the final frontier of space is just over the horizon. As we prepare to put human being back on the moon and start getting ready to put the first people on Mars, we can imagine a future where we are no longer confined to this single, precious planet where we are constantly in danger of extinction from some cosmic disaster. The idea of visiting worlds other than our own will soon no longer be science fiction; it will be a part of our daily lives.

I’ve always dreamed of going into space. One of my hopes is that before my life is over I will somehow find an opportunity to get up there and experience our world from the other side of the clouds. Even better would be to actually pilot one of those amazing spacecraft, as I’ve always been interested in space simulators and I love flying airplanes. Space is obviously vastly different, but I love the idea of flying just about anything.

As crazy as it might sound, space travel could become quite routine in the not very distant future as our material science continues to progress. We are very close to having a material that is strong enough to create an elevator straight up into space. Our advances in technologies like carbon nanotubes has brought us breathtakingly close to making low Earth orbit more of a suburb than a destination. There is still a lot of work to do to make it feasible, but the physics and materials are solid.

Getting into orbit is only the first step, however, and the thing I would love most of all would be to become the pilot of a ship moving around the solar system. I would love to visit different worlds, but I have little interest in living on any of them. My preference would be to live on an interplanetary shuttle of some sort, moving people and materials around from planet to asteroid to wherever else it might be needed, enjoying the endless view of the countless stars and having my time punctuated by brief encounters with the various bodies of our solar system.

Of course, none of this is likely to happen. I am already old enough now and the skillset I ended up choosing for myself make it highly dubious that any space agency would find me qualified to do anything even remotely related to space. Anything can happen, obviously, but I’ve had to accept that the biggest dream I could ever have will remain as such. If regular passenger service to space becomes something real in my lifetime, perhaps I could realize a part of it, but making space my life is something I simply waited too long to zero in on.

Regardless, for the rest of my life I will continue to watch and wait as human beings push ever farther into the final frontier. As new technologies become available and we discover new aspects of physics we never knew were possible, I will follow along vicariously through those who are selected to brave new places and dangerous situations, living life about as far on the edge as is possible. With any luck, perhaps I can find my own adventure and experience at least a part of what I’ve always wished I could.

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