The Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion
It is amazing what you forget. I never considered important memories being lost to the murk of time. Yet, today I was reminded of such a moment that, I believe, defined my belief that space travel is one of the greatest things we do. It was only the other day that I was reading an article about the plight of the Spirit Mars Rover and how it has become stuck in a sand bog of some kinds. The NASA people are trying to get it out but they are facing a reality that the rover may be stuck where it is. I was saddened by this since I have thought of these rovers for some time and I do check on them from time to time. Much like a mother hen. As long as they are running and working on the deserts of Mars, everything about the world is okay.
So, it took me a little by surprise when, I was reminded about the Space Shuttle Challenger. I hadn't thought about it for years and years. My memory of the incident are somewhat vague but I will never forget the Time Magazine cover of the disaster. The Challenger explosion was the first time I think I had any thought about death. I had pets that has passed away but it was never quite the same thing. I remember the main reason I remember anything about the Challenger was that we had done some kind of project at my school about the Space Shuttle since a teacher was going to be a member of that trip. It was a big deal. A "non-astronaut" was having the chance to do something that mere mortals such as myself were not allowed to do. It was like stealing from the cookie jar knowing you wouldn't get in trouble. In other words, it was exciting.
But, here is what happened:
I think this is one of the most terrifying videos that exist. We've all seen terrorist suicide bombers (even back then) and whatnot but I think the feeling of utter helplessness is more terrifying. Imagine having been inside the shuttle and hearing something go wrong and then - nothing. It happened to the Columbia a few years ago and it was a reminder about the dangers of space travel.
You know what? I think he did say it best. As much as we like to make fun of "Ronny" nowadays, this was one of his shining moments. I think that is enough for one night. Off to bed.