There were three interesting stories on “60 Minutes” this week, all of which were pertinent to my life: on Art (my life), Sugar (my downfall) and the Space Program. Now, you might not think the space program to be of personal relevance but this story struck the very heart of my being.
I was only a little kid when President Kennedy challenged a generation, at his inauguration, to put a man on the moon. Not only had he set forth a task that was the stuff dreams were made of, he gave us a deadline–10 years. It was a stunning call to action, exciting the pioneering spirit of Americans and firing the imagination. We met Kennedy’s challenge and achieved so much more as we discovered and invented applications of what we learned from the space program to our lives and the body of scientific knowledge.
I think this is what was seen by much of the world as American arrogance. It wasn’t that we were conceited, we had worked very hard and accomplished an almost unimaginable goal. There was a national pride, based in this achievement.
Barely six months ago, the space shuttle Atlantis flew it’s final voyage, being decommissioned after flying only a third of the flights it was built for. The promise had been that a new space program, Constellation, would be launched. But first the funding was cut and then Congress de-funded it completely. The people at Cape Canaveral disappointedly call the defunct program, Cancellation. This was personally devastating to the individuals involved, who had their lives and lifestyles shattered by the change in the economic tide, evidenced by each one breaking down as Scott Peley interviewed them.
But it was devastating to me, too. This was a noble, pure and exciting effort that we created for the future, for the unknown, for the pure joy of being able to accomplish something heretofore thought impossible. I am part of the generation that dreamed of stars and galaxies, constellations and deep space. As we let our imaginations soar, we had a sense that anything is possible.
Now it’s over. What grand challenges and great adventures do we now see for ourselves and future generations? How do we now excite the imagination and believe that anything is possible?
My latest exploration is of the worldwide web and my latest discovery, Posterous. Have a look at my portfolio there and tell me what you think. ArtistKaren.posterous.com