Tonight I watched footage of the final undocking of our Space Shuttle discovery from the ISS. In 1984, just a year after my High school graduation, this special spacecraft lifted off for it's maiden voyage. Construction of the vehicle actual began in 1979.
Discovery has traveled over 140 million miles and has spent almost one year in space.
I'm not sure how or why, but sometimes when I leave for a campout with my Safari in tow, it almost seems like I'm on my own "space mission". I prep for the travel, complete my intend goals, and return home safely. It's almost ironic that Discovery is only about a decade newer than my "old" trailer. Perhaps these two icons of America share many of the same personality traits.
The Discovery crew today was awaken with a rendition of "to boldly go" specially modified for the Discover orbiter. As expected, William Shatner recorded it. http://www.youtube.com/user/NASAtelevision
Wednesday will be a very special day when Discovery touches down for the final time. It will be a long time before we have another moment like this is our space history. Please take the time to make your kids pay attention to why this is important. It is likely that our next substantial manned space program will be some time off. Our next era will belong to our children. Much like I learned about space via the Apollo program, our youth today will be educated through the space shuttle.
Maybe Wednesday instead of watching Law & Order or playing Wii, flick on NASA TV for an hour. As my friends at Estes rockets say "Ignite your imagination"!