Space, Mars, and the Desire to Explore

We choose to go to the Moon … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …

– President  John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962

I always dreamt about becoming an astronaut. Floating through space. Colonizing Mars and planets beyond. The early 70’s were a heady time for space travel. Disney World had just opened with it’s futuristic Tomorrow Land. We had Tang, Omega watches, dome houses, space day at school, and many other items that worked their way into our daily lives.

I remember the Apollo Space Program. I was living in Orlando, FL at that time. We could see the launch from our house. We would watch on TV at my grandparents house and then run outside every time a rocket took off, trying to be the first one to spot the rocket.

My parents and grandparents would take us to Kennedy Space Center where we would eat ‘Astronaut Food’. As kids, we loved the ice cream. In those days we could get very close to the launch pads. Below is a picture of me and my sister with our father in front of the Apollo 16 launch pad.

Apollo_16_on_launchpad

Apollo 17 would prove to be the last trip that the US took to the moon. It would be years before the Space Shuttle program was launched and a human crew traveled back into space. We never went back to the moon. The dream of going to Mars was put on an indefinite hold.

Now, I live in a country that dreams and believes it can and will go to Mars. That it will explore: boldy go where no one has gone before.  You can feel the excitement in the air. I may not be able to make it to space, but at least I now have a chance to continue that dream and help others get to and colonize Mars.

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