Nerds? You know who they were: the disheveled students of the 1950s, the ones with two pocket protectors and zero girl friends. The amateur radio freaks; the wild-eyed neighborhood rocket launchers. They were an uncounted, unnoticed generation; their diverse ...
Nerds? You know who they were: the disheveled students of the 1950s, the ones with two pocket protectors and zero girl friends. The amateur radio freaks; the wild-eyed neighborhood rocket launchers. They were an uncounted, unnoticed generation; their diverse curiosities calling them to self-educate for a challenge yet undefined. But they were disorganized, rudderless; a solution in search of a problem.
So when John Kennedy made his call, they were ready.
When NASA opened up shop, the nerds poured in, capturing thousands of the newly-available technical jobs. It was Luck in its purest form: Preparation encountering Opportunity. The Nerds became NASA. Together, they have taken us for quite the ride, certainly they have. NASA has shown us nearly a half-Century of wonder; of benefits beyond counting; of prosperity spread wide and far.
But . . . it is to end. All too soon, the day will overtake us when the last remaining Space Shuttle will return to Earth for the final time. We will be watching as this veteran craft quits her place in empty space and plummets toward her landing place; two hundred thousand pounds of rugged metal and fragile ceramic, the fruits of man’s ingenuity and audacity; the blood of daring heroes.
We will stand in ragged groups to greet her, a muted mob in mourning. We will watch as she swoops majestically from icy space and raps on the sky with her supersonic signature, “BoomBoom, I’m home!” We will taste this thunder and savor it . . . for when it fades away, it will join the defiant roar of Tyrannosaurus Rex as a sound never to be heard again on this planet.
Presently, mankind's only spaceship will touch the Earth with a chirp of tires. Her drag ‘chute will pop, then flutter reluctantly to the ground. Finally, the whole unlikely, patched-together brutish sophistication that is a NASA Space Shuttle will roll to a stop. When it does, the United States of America will be out of the manned spaceflight business, suddenly and forever.
And the nerds will sob. All of us.
I have been watching the incredible NASA show for near a lifetime, now . . . an epic saga structured on dreams, bolstered with bravery, tempered by tears. In my overactive mind, I have erected a structure of rickety opinions about all of this. Here they be . . . .
This is a book about a yearn to witness a Space Shuttle launch before it's too late. You are invited to follow along in our quest at the blog http://flyingfoxone.wordpress.com/