Thursday, November 02, 2006

How Did We Ever...

...fall out of love with outer space? When I was a kid, going into outer space was the paragon of cool. Maybe it was because we didn't know any better, but movies like Star Wars and Flash Gordon and TV shows like Star Trek and Buck Rogers totally inflamed desires to travel in the great beyond. And, even though we were idiots, we knew that astronauts were the guys who really got to blast off. So, when we weren't dressed up as Superman or indians or inmates for Halloween, we were spacemen. (At least those of us whose parents kept a bolt of aluminum foil and an empty goldfish bowl handy did.)

But as I was out this past Halloween, trick or treating with my kids, I saw nary an astronaut. (And Anakin frakkin' Skywalker does not count.) For further proof, I went to the internets and found these lists, of the top 20 costumes for 2006 and 2005:

1. Princess
2. Pirate
3. Witch
4. Spider-Man
5. Superman
6. Disney Princess
7. Power Ranger
8. Pumpkin
9. Cat
10. Vampire
11. Angel
12. Fairy
13. Ninja
14. SpongeBob SquarePants
15. Batman
16. Cheerleader
17. Football Player
18. Tinkerbell
19. Monster
20. Star Wars Character

1. Princess
2. Witch
3. Spider-Man
4. Monster
5. Darth Vader
6. Superhero
7. Star Wars Character
8. Batman
9. Ninja
10. Clown
11. Pirate
12. Angel
13. Pumpkin
14. Power Rangers
15. Cinderella
16. Vampire
17. Cheerleader
18. Cat
19. Ghost/Ghoul
20. Soldier/Sailor

No astronauts. What the hell happened?

It's tempting to blame Republicans. For almost everything. But, while the manned space program was kick-started by Kennedy, it was carried out, by and large, by Republicans. (Back then, they were the good Republicans.)

I think we just got bored, as a culture, with the idea of going into space. Especially since no one ever brought anything cool back down with them.

I was watching this Discovery Channel special on the unmanned probes and it mentioned something that just completely stunned me and reminded how much I too have given up on the dream:

Voyager has, most likely, crossed into interstellar space. It's out there, where no man has gone before. It has left home.

Suddenly, I wanna be a kid again, flush with dreams of distant exploration and currently up to my pits in tin foil.

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