The need to exploreOn Monday, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully sent its Dragon cargo capsule into space where it will rendezvous with the International Space Station, have its cargo unloaded, then take on new cargo and return to Earth in one of those dramatic splashdowns on Oct. 28.
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
On Monday, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully sent its Dragon cargo capsule into space where it will rendezvous with the International Space Station, have its cargo unloaded, then take on new cargo and return to Earth in one of those dramatic splashdowns on Oct. 28.
Interesting stuff but the question is did you watch it on television? No? Not surprising since its old hat now, no humans were on board, it wasn’t live on television anyway, at least not on primetime, and even though it had some problems in flight, its onboard computer analyzed and fixed them in mid launch.
Meanwhile you’re wondering what SpaceX and the Dragon are?
Well, SpaceX is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., a privately held space transport company or space trucker that transports freight from here to midspace instead of from Minneapolis to Memphis and Richmond to Rancho Cucamonga.
It is headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., a stone’s throw from where I used to live in Manhattan Beach and just a few blocks from where members of the legendary band, the Beach Boys, grew up.
Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk who owned PayPal, SpaceX created the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, a reusable rocket that carries the Dragon spacecraft, the pack mule, into space.
You see, that’s what modern space exploration is all about. It’s a game that scientists, engineers and technobots get real excited about, but you and I aren’t going to care a lick until they find one of those creepy creatures behind a big red rock on Mars or at least send a few dudes from here up there to chase them around.
Because, let’s face it, exploration is what you and I are all about, grabbing things and putting them in our mouth shortly after birth, getting up on our haunches and roaming down the street when Mom isn’t looking, banging our head into walls, falling down stairs, burning our fingers and then eventually having to deal with members of the opposite sex, which is really an adventure, but that’s another story for another time.
We all want to be Christopher Columbus or Lewis and Clark, Hernando Cortez or Sir Francis Drake. It’s exciting, invigorating, stimulating, rewarding and essential.
But this space exploration business is something that only a few of us get to do since out of 6 billion or 7 billion people on this planet, a maximum of five or six might be in space at one time and what fun is that?
So, if space exploration isn’t going to work out, at least not for all of us, how is it that we are going to flex our raging exploration muscle especially if, even in North Dakota, every inch of real estate has already been explored and is being developed and sold for a right arm, two legs, some firstborns, a gold brick and a late model Edsel?
I’m not sure unless the Internet is the new, limitless frontier, burgeoning with countless possibilities but it is invented by man so how could it be? Therefore the only exciting thing left might just be exploring the mind, the soul, the inner you and who it is that it connects to.
Which is an area I explored before, quite by accident, when I was thrown off a bucking bronc at a rodeo in Simi Valley, Calif., and soared headfirst into a fence, knocking it back to the sound of screaming fans and nearly cutting off my right ear; with the whole episode sending me into a concussion delirium that forced upon me some much needed introspection, interpretation and investigation.
What I discovered, as I lay in an emergency room fading away to the point near brainlessness, not being able to remember much of anything, including anyone’s name, was that I found the real me, the kid inside that you and I will always be.
He was kind and honest, patient and wise and I suspect life was easier for him in there where he was unencumbered by earthly frustrations and lies; happy with joy and love, peace and one God above.
Still he knew this: That anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. Or as Charles A. Beard, one of the most influential American historians of the first half of the 20th century once said, “When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars.”
Holten is a freelance columnist and cartoonist from Dickinson.