One of the reasons that I am partial to all things NASA is the fact that we are the same age and “grew up” together. Others in my generation hold this same respect for them as well, especially respect for the earliest pioneers of the space program. Hearing about our beloved Apollo astronauts and their missions was a regular part of my childhood and early teen years, and each mission was a very big deal. Indeed, the first moon landing was literally a world-wide event.
Those younger than I am probably do not hold this same level of awe with NASA because NASA has done its job so well over the years. They have come to expect all the perfection the agency and its fine people produce. While that is a good thing in its own way, I feel a bit sorry for everyone that did not experience NASA’s growing up process and the many achievements as they happened, including all of the moon mission firsts.
I have adopted NASA lore as a bit of a hobby over the past couple of years because I don’t want to forget all of those wonderful experiences and learn even more about them today. It is quite fascinating, too. Some movies have done a good job about NASA’s early days, some more than others. I love “The Right Stuff” in particular. It walks the fine line of history, drama, heartbreak and lots of humor, mixed with some great musical scores, and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially today on NASA’s 52nd birthday.
Here is a great clip from “The Right Stuff” of astronaut Alan Shepard (Scott Glenn, one of my favorite actors of all time) being recruited to the astronaut program by two recruiters (Jeff Goldblum, Harry Shearer) who are having some “issues” on the aircraft carrier while approaching Shepard about the space program. I just love this movie!
Like many others, I’m a pretty disappointed (if not downright frustrated) in the way things are shaping up for NASA these days. But, we’ll keep hoping that the dream does not die for lack of interest. At least I can say that I was around and witnessed (via television) some of the greatest achievements that the human race has ever accomplished. I just hope that my grand kids will someday be able to say that, too… if I have grand kids someday… another dream!