As most of you know by now, Neil Armstrong passed away at the age of 82 on Saturday. The first man to walk on the lunar surface inspired generations, including theCHIVERS. theCHIVE is a family run website and we've been fascinated with the cosmos since our father drove us to the outskirts of Ft. Wayne, IN in 1986 to watch Halley's Comet pass earth at its closest apparition.
On Friday, one day before Armstrong's passing, my family and some of our close friends were invited to take a private tour of the Johnson Space Center in Houston by Chiver Scott Chladek. It was amazing to meet so many NASA Chivers. Thanks so much to Scott, Andrew, and Justin for taking the time to show us around. It was an experience we'll never forget...
As our day at NASA drew to an end I asked Andrew, one of the NASA engineers, if we’ll ever make it to Mars, he responded. “It’s in the core of our human spirit to go. I believe we will. And we’ll do it in our lifetime. But the astronauts that do it will probably have the Google logo on their space suits.”
NASA’s budget has been cut, whittled, and cut again. NASA now lacks some direction, many projects are started only to be abandoned mid-stride, the layoffs at Kennedy Space Center have caused many cities surrounding the launch pad to become ghost towns.
Closing the door on the Space Shuttle also means closing the door on future discovery, technologies, and civilian industries that could see their genesis at NASA. And that’s sad, I think. It’s sad for our generation today but it’s heartbreaking for the dreamers of tomorrow, the generations of potential scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who will lay the foundations for the generations who follow them. What will they dream about I wonder? There is something larger at stake at NASA beyond the now. In a word, it’s progress.
There’s still a sliver of light coming from a door that was once opened wide. Chamber A will soon serve another grand purpose. Scott and his team will drop the temperature in the chamber down to 11 Kelvin ( about -440 degrees Fahrenheit) where it will become the home of the James Webb Telescope for 6 months of testing before it is launched to replace the Hubble telescope. It will see farther into the cosmos than ever before and fill in more blanks about our universe and hopefully, our very existence. Some things at NASA are still very, very alive.