Between the Lines

Between the Lines by David Lias So, I'm sitting here at my office, my rear planted firmly in my chair and my feet on the ground.

I open the blinds of my window, and there's my car with its four wheels and four cylinder, gas-powered engine.

It's so ? pedestrian.

It's not supposed to be this way.

Where's my Flash Gordon jetpack, for crying out loud??

Where's my George Jetson-like hydrogen-powered personalized flying car??

Why do I have to diet to lose weight? By now, I thought weightlessness would be a condition every American � including me � could easily experience.

You see, I'm still burning with the same "Go Fever" that compelled this nation to enter a race with a super power to see who could first safely land a man on the moon.

It's an affliction I thought would spread as easily as a cold bug here at the Broadcaster office during a South Dakota winter.

Who ever thought space travel would become so ho-hum?

I was nearly a year old when the Soviet Union got out of the starting blocks first in the space race by launching Sputnik.

I don't remember our first two ventures of manned space flight, made by Alan Shepherd and Gus Grissom in their Mercury capsules.

But, way back in my memory banks is the grainy picture of Walter Cronkite on our black and white Zenith as he explained, with great fascination, the flight of John Glenn.

I was hooked.

The Mercury capsules were so cramped that the astronauts said they felt like "Spam in a can."

But they gave Americans their first ride to the most spacious frontier of all.

Mercury was followed by the two-man Gemini program, which led to experiments with spacewalks, orbital rendezvous and, eventually, Apollo's journey to the moon.

It was 35 years ago this week that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins boarded their Apollo 11 spaceship on a journey that would last days and end with "one small step" on the lunar surface.

At the time, my brothers and I reasoned that, if they could do it, eventually everyone, including us, would be doing it.

We assumed we weren't much different from kids who watched the Wright Brothers make their first flight.

If you happened to be a youngster when Orville and Wilbur took off at Kitty Hawk, you may have dreamed that someday you, too, would be flying in one of their contraptions.

It's a dream that, naturally, became reality.

At the time, I was too young to care or even, in fact, realize that more than just rocket fuel propelled this country in its race to the moon.

Politics � the "us versus them, good guys versus Communists" characteristics of the Cold War � kept boosting our space program.

About three years after Neil Armstrong left man's first footprint on the moon's surface, we seemed to suddenly, collectively lose interest.

We can make all sorts of excuses for not going back to the moon someday.

It's dangerous.

It's expensive.

Unmanned exploration, like the two robots we have sniffing around on Mars right now, have the ability to send back valuable data without putting humans at risk.

It would be nice, however, for another generation to be able to witness humans walking on a place other than Earth, just as we did 35 years ago.

It's time for earthlings to be able to huddle around their televisions as history is being made.

And dream.

Who knows?

Someday we might be able to trade in our earthbound automobiles for newly invented Flash Gordon jetpacks and George Jetson flying cars.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>