To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Seattle Space Needle has teamed up with Space Adventures to create a rather unique competition. One lucky winner will be strapped to a rocket and launched 62 miles above the earth, into space (62 miles is the official NASA definition of space).
50,000 people originally entered the space race. The field was then trimmed to 1,000. All 1,000 finalists were asked to submit a 2 minute video describing why they deserved a ride in the hot seat. On the merit of their videos, the field was whittled down to 20. One of our own, Gregory Schneider has made the top 20. And I'm not surprised at all. Watching his video and talking to Gregory on the phone, his presence at the cusp of space is not a surprise.
You see, Gregory's motivation to leave our atmosphere has very little to do with himself and everything to do with inspiring his own children, Emi -7 and Jude -3, as well as thousands of other children, to aspire to their dreams.
Back in the day when our generation grew up, we all wanted to be astronauts. There's something magical about the heavens right above us that fascinates children. As kids, we reach for the sky in hopes that, someday when we get a little taller, when we grow up, we may touch it.
Gregory told me, "We all feel pulled upward toward the stars, like all of our descendants over the past 94,000 years. We are, after all, made of star stuff."
But with the dissolution of the shuttle program and overall space cutbacks, this new generation's dreams have been grounded. But there is hope. Recently, private space travel has emerged.
Private space travel has only recently been feasible and it's only been accessible for the elite who pay millions to take the ride. Right now, for the first time ever, one private citizen, just like you and I, from the same economic class as you and I, will have a chance to visit space and gaze back down upon this small, fragile, planet, and return to share his perspective with us. More importantly, he will be able to share his experience with his children, and other young people to help them reignite their dreams, whatever they may be.
Gregory also wants to be able to describe the earth in ways many may not see it, from the outside in, "So few have seen the beauty of the Earth, as a cosmic object, in relation to the enormous expanse of the universe. The more we can view this planet as the place that holds us all, the more we'll realize we're all in this together. It’s ours, you see. That now private citizens may be able to gain this perspective and share it, I believe, can only bring good things to the world."
Let's send a Chiver into space.
Your vote will decide who makes the final 5. The final 5 will be flown to Seattle to compete in various physical and metal challenges to decide the winner.
Simply follow this link to the Space Race Facebook page. Click on 'Vote for Entry'. Facebook will ask you to grant the Space Needle's facebook app permission, which should be the same as most other apps on Facebook. After this, your vote will be counted.
If Gregory wins, he will be launched into space wearing KCCO. For a few brief moments, he will remove his restraints and experience weightlessness. I can’t imagine what that will be like, but I cannot wait to hear all about it. Chivers, blast the Facebook page.
Cast your vote for Gregory right here.