I went through a phase where I really wanted to be an astronaut. While the catalyst for that might have been the awesome! movie, Spacecamp, I took it quite seriously, well, as seriously as a 9 year old can. I had my career path planned out. I was going to major in Astrophysics and then enter the Air Force and become a pilot. I was desperate to go to one of the real Spacecamps in Florida or Alabama (partially because I thought there was a good 50/50 chance that I, too, would be accidentally launched into space) but couldn’t find a way to raise the nearly $1500 need to do so. I still remember the two boys in my class who were lucky enough to go. About fifteen years later, still jealous, I had a conversation with one of the Spacecamp alums about his time there and, shockingly, he said it was nothing like the movie. Apparently it was kind of like a very long science class – no lovable, talking robots, no shuttle flying simulations, no accidental shuttle launches – lame.
My dreams were completely shattered when I found you have to naturally have 20/20 vision to be an astronaut. I have something more like 20/700 vision. That is not an overexaggeration. I am actually legally blind without glasses or contact lenses to correct it. I was crushed. I guess I still could have majored in Astrophysics (pause for laughter) and done something less glamorous on the ground but it seems my academic ambition peeked at around 9.
It has still remained an interest I fulfill by reading authors like Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene who simplify these complex ideas enough for me to understand them. But I found out yesterday that we can all take a more active role, at least in the search for extra-terrestrial life, with SETI at home. That’s right – E.T. Leave it to those hippies at Berkeley to think up this one.
So I think I’m going to run this on my own computer. Let’s find some aliens, people! Maybe they’ve figured out this healthcare thing. Maybe they will shoot us with lasers that come out of their eyes. Maybe they have fingers like sausages and like reeses pieces. I’ll let you know what I find.