... And Touched the Face of God

Posted: Aug 09, 2007 8:34 AM

So last night, I'm having a drink with a few friends at Austin Grill, and all of a sudden, we're watching the Space Shuttle Endeavour lifting off. Frankly, it was a surprise to all of us.

Now, in truth, I had heard something about the launch, but I certainly hadn't planned my schedule around watching it. Which makes me ponder a few things...

1. Why is this same looking vehicle as when I was 12 years old? I mean, cars don't look the same, heck, sneakers don't look the same ... so why does the Shuttle look the same as it ever did?

2. In the past, Presidents took the time to challenge Americans to go into space. JFK challenged America to go to the moon. After the Challenger disaster, Reagan talked about Sir. Francis Drake and the importance of exploration. So how come nobody today is going on TV and explaining why we are doing all of this? If not the president, then how about the head of NASA (in fairness, they do have a cool website). Come to think of it, who is the head of NASA?

3. Americans used to sit around the TV waiting for a Shuttle launch. Heck, one of the reasons the Challenger disaster was so devastating was that thousands of children were watching it on TV at the time. Now, guys like me, are surprised when they break away from Hardball to go to the launch. What happened? Are Shuttle launches merely suffering the same fate as the evening news (too many other options crowding them out on TV)? Or have we merely grown bored with this stuff? ... Or is it that we're not being challenged and inspired anymore?

... In recent years, Astronauts have lost prestige. Sure, some of that has to do with driving around wearing diapers -- but a lot of it have to do with the fact that our leaders have failed to push this program into the future, and have also failed to explain why this program is important.

Is this another missed opportunity for Bush?