I don’t know what I found more delightful last week, the SpaceX-NASA co-launch of astronauts from American soil for the first time in nine years, or that the astronauts carried on the spacecraft, a machine complicated beyond all belief and built to launch human beings into outer space, bore the names Bob and Doug. (read more HERE)
Not this Bob and Doug
Or should I say my inner 10-year-old found it delightful? The adult version of myself understands that, on balance, last week was anything but delightful. Adult Anthony knows far too much about pandemics and injustices and 401(k)s to think about space the same way he did when he was 10. I can’t see the sky with the same clarity, and only partly because 10-year-old me didn’t need contacts yet. But 10-year-old Anthony would like to focus on the space launch now, please. Let’s indulge him.
10-year-old me was obsessed with space. Sure, the obsession came on quickly and faded, as most childhood obsessions do. But unlike my dinosaur faze, Steven Spielberg had nothing to do with it. It’s the unboundedness. When you’re a kid, you sometimes feel a bit fenced in. “Don’t do this, can’t do that.” There are rules to your life. And yet, you have this instinctual urge to discover, to reach beyond what’s been given. 10-year-old Anthony would sometimes come home and visit NASA’s website to see if there were any new moons discovered orbiting Jupiter. 10-year-old Anthony is the reason Adult Anthony still looks up and marvels when there’s a clear sky at night. Nerdy? Sure, I’ll cop to that, and 10-year-old me would have too. But I’m betting I have that in common with the 10-year-old versions of Astronaut Doug and Astronaut Bob. I bet they too spent many nights looking up and wondering what the future might be like, what they might do to make that future real.
When troubling things are happening, I find it comforting to tap into my 10-year-old self. You might find it comforting too. 10-year-olds tend to be optimists, especially when compared to their adult versions. It doesn’t mean you still have to believe what you did when you were 10; growth is healthy. But I believe that the world might just be a better place if everybody tried to do things our 10-year-old selves would be proud of. Bob and Doug sure did.
NASA has plans to reach the moon again within the next few years, but Mars missions are the goal. My 10-year-old self doesn’t wonder, but Adult Anthony sometimes thinks, “Why Mars?” Why not Earth? Why not fix the problems we have here before venturing out into the unknown elsewhere?
I’ll leave it to Dr. Zubrin to explain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S6k2LBJhac
“...if you have it in your power to do something great and important, you should.”
That’s all any 10-year-old needs to hear.
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