Significant Moments

This has been a month of significant moments. I turned 50 the other day…years that is…or, 618 full moons, five decades, or one half a century depending on what perspective you want to use for the moment. One of the earliest memories I have is when JFK was assassinated in Dallas. It was the day before my 6th birthday. Now AARP is sending me offers in the mail.

I finished my Masters degree. My final report is delivered and the oral presentation went well, the comprehensive final is over and now the only thing left is waiting for the diploma to show up in the mail. I will now have more of that elusive “free time” which has been significantly lacking for the past four years and I am endeavoring to decide just what to do with it. Aside from catching up on a lengthy to-do list I may look at resurrecting some old dreams.

SPS_wi_sun_Earth_thumb.jpgThe exploration of space has always held a fascination for me and I’ve always wished I could have “boldly gone where no man has gone before“. I did manage to become a Captain but it was no spaceship I commanded, just a desk and a few Sergeants. I still remember the emotions surrounding the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, waiting and watching until we heard… “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Those were some incredible times for space exploration.

I remember writing a term paper in college on space exploration and the promise of what was to come was still fresh and exciting. I was inspired by many but one stands out; Gerard K. O’Neill, a U.S. physicist and space pioneer. His book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space mapped out a straightforward, manifestly doable path to putting humans into space permanently and sustainably, using 1970s materiel and current-day know-how. He inspired a generation of space exploration advocates, me included. Sadly, that dream has not materialized. It has been 35 years since man last set foot on the moon. I am planning to do a little research and see if there is some part of that dream still alive out there that I can get involved in and maybe make a small contribution.

Josh and Selenda have announced their engagement! Wedding bells are scheduled for early May 2008. We are excited for them and will try and post more info as it becomes available. They invited us down to Thanksgiving dinner along with Selenda’s parents and we had a very enjoyable evening getting to know the future in-laws and eating an excellent turkey that Josh smoked on his grill/smoker.

All in all a pretty exciting month.