The last few weeks I've had Outer Space on my mind quite a bit. Space travel and the space program have always been a big inspiration to me, both as a person, and creatively speaking as well. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that I'm a scifi nerd, either (Ha! There's one for the cheap seats). I've always felt incredibly lucky to have been born in the century where the entirety of humanity got to experience Outer Space for the first time in a tangible way.
My first favorite movie was 2001: A Space Odyssey. I remember an astronaut speaking to my class in 3rd grade, and I got to hold a shuttle tile. Growing up in Kansas, with some of the best views of the skies in the country, I have clear memories of staring through a telescope with my dad in a field, finding craters on the moon. Seeing the smudges of the stars of Pleiades, resolving themselves into distinct and separate shapes.
Even now, I'm lucky enough to live within a smattering of miles of Wallops Flight Facility, and have finally gotten to see with my own eyes, rockets launching into space. It's an incredible age that we live in. The last few weeks have been big ones for me in terms of inspiration. David Bowie died, and though of course I didn't know him as a person, it hit me harder than I would have realized a few weeks ago. "Space Oddity" has been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard it. The helplessness, the sense of mission, accepting responsibility for inevitability, and the ultimate sacrifice of self in lonely dire straits. What a picture to have from just a few lyrics.
Just a few days ago on January 28 was the 30th anniversary of the Challenger explosion, yesterday was the 13 year anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia disintegrating over Texas. Apollo 1 had the fire on January 27, 1967 that killed 3 crew members.
There have been a lot of sacrifices for all the advances we've made, and many of them within a few days of one another. Lots of scientific and technical strides exist entirely due to the Space Programs and what they've uncovered, but for the rest of us, they've allowed us to dream and see and breathe and just exist in a world that touches the rest of the universe. We know we are part of a galaxy, and not an island. And that's an amazing thing.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite photos, of Anna Lee Fisher, one of the first female American Astronauts. She was also the first mother in space.