These images were captured by the Hubble Telescope. A project made possible through the NASA Space Shuttle Program that came to an end last week. The next horizon in space travel and particularly manned space travel is iffy at best. Since the program scheduled to take over for the Shuttle project has been redirected by the current administration. But this isn't really about the fact that the final Space Shuttle retired last week, it's about how dreams are formed, pursued and evolved.
When I was a very little girl, I saw the first Space Shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, just one more advantage of being a Florida girl. After the amazing history making launch of the Colombia Shuttle, many more followed. For years we would get out of class during elementary school to line up on the playground and watch the Shuttles launch from 50 miles away. They were amazing. But the most amazing thing about it was imagining what the astronauts would discover in their experiments. I dreamed of seeing the world through the shuttle window. I dreamed of a space station that orbited the Earth and gave us all a chance to experience life in space in some small way.
I never really imagined seeing actual pictures of deep space as beautiful as these.
At the time I couldn't imagine that the US and other countries, such as Russia, would work together to build an international space station. Yet in the decades since I first dreamed of going to space, many things have changed. I recently learned that every 48 hours humans create and share as much information as was recorded from the beginning of the world up to 2003. Billions of bits of information, writing, thoughts, discoveries and news are shared every day.
What is left to dream about? What do young people today dream of accomplishing? Where does Science Fiction go when reality is catching up at such an alarming pace? I can't wait to find out.
I'm sad to see the Space Shuttle program retire, but I'm excited to see what the next big adventure will be.