Friday, July 20, 2012

How I Became A Space Geek - Featuring: My Dad

Today is the anniversary of humanity's first steps on something other than Earth-bound destinations. How would you process such an event if you never imagined a universe before? Or a solar system? That's what happened to me on this day in 1969, when I was a kid in West Germany. 

I remember watching the newscasts; I don't recall if it was live or a repeat showing of the footage at a later time. I recall that it was a dark and clear night, the Moon bright overhead, looking close enough to touch. I also recall walking over to the window - which was practically floor-to-ceiling - pushing aside the curtain and trying to open the window. 

That got my dad's attention. The conversation that ensued went something like this:

Dad: What are you doing over there?

Me: Opening the window so I can see the moon better. 

Dad walks over to me, opens the window. 

Me: There are people on the moon right now?

Dad: Yes, there sure are.

Me: Where? I can't see them!

Dad: Oh, the moon is way too far away for us to see them from here. 

Me: How far away?

I don't remember exactly how, but this was when my dad taught me the concept of distance in "astronomical" terms, distances beyond anything my child's brain had ever imagined: That it would take *days* of travel through space to get to the Moon. 

From then on, I was hooked. No going back. I have never stopped looking to the stars since then. I have never stopped dreaming about going to space, and always encourage others to do the same. I am deeply grateful to my dad, who took the time to answer my questions so amazingly well when I was 6 that it feels like it was only yesterday.

In celebration of today's Moon Landing Anniversary, please listen to a beautiful song by @craftlass, who has an amazing voice and writes eloquent lyrics about why we must go back to the Moon ~