When NASA retired the shuttle program earlier this year, my heart sank. True, I had not devoured science fiction novels at an insane rate in years, I’d long ago decided not to be an astronaut after all, and I had grown weary of our apparent lack of excitement about space. We hadn’t been to the moon in decades, Mars seemed farther away than ever, and at least in the circles I ran in, the dream had begun to fade.
But it was one thing for my dreams to grow dusty and muted, entirely another to have them smashed and future hope yanked away. At least, that’s how the cancelation of the shuttle program with no known options for a replacement felt.
But I am very happy to share now that hope has returned. My brother sent me word of it last week. NASA has decided on the Space Launch System (SLS), which will propel us further than we’ve ever been in space. Here’s the notice. Read it and know the realms of exploration and adventure shine still brightly before us.
What would you most like us to do in the next fifty years in space? For me, I’d like to see some sort of lunar station and human exploration of Mars. I’d also like to see it inspire Americans to dream again, to look up at the night sky and see possibilities.