I’m sure this will come as a shock to our fellow readers but I have a slight affection for Space. The amount of time I spend thinking about Space borders on the slightly obsessive and about 50% of Space.com’s internet traffic comes from this girl right here. There’s always something new to see, always something shocking to read and always something that gets my imagination running wild and wishing for the impossible to become possible. It reminds me of childhood when the world was laid out before us, anything was possible and as long as we worked hard enough we could all be doctors, lawyers, princesses and astronauts. It’s the last great childhood hope that has stayed with me, going to the great unknown of Space. Like people put singers and actors on a pedestal, I hold the great minds of our Space industry on one. They are living embodiments of genius and childhood dreams come true. They are proof that maybe the human race may make despite our ever-increasing odds.
Like normal, I was fumbling around on NASA’s website (probably stalking Mar’s Curiosity) when I came across something called a NASA Social. In an effort to connect with the public, NASA provides get-togethers aimed towards its social media followers. NASA doesn’t hold out on its followers either. In nerd world, they offer pretty amazing opportunities for few lucky people, like the ability to watch Curiosity blast off from Earth. Despite our blog, despite the fact that I now have two Facebook pages and a Twitter FMT page, I’m not a social media wizard nor was I very active until FMT came along. Even though the odds were against me, I figured the next DC Area social I would apply and I didn’t have to wait very long. What little prize was NASA offering it’s eager followers…MEETING ASTRONAUT JOE ACABA! This is like dangling Georgetown Cupcakes or Justin Timberlake in Poinsettia’s face. On September 17th, Joe Acaba returned from the International Space Station after spending 4 months staring down on Earth from Space. Somehow, I actually won a spot. One spot out of about 75. I can not do my experience justice. On Dec 4th at NASA headquarters, I got to hear what it is like float around in micro gravity (you are very nimble), eat (watch your food or it will float away), sleep ( zip yourself in), play and work in Space. These memories will stay with me forever. Joe ( yes, I now call him Joe) use to teach middle school in Florida and when he spoke to the children of the group, you got a hint of what an amazing and inspirational teacher he must have been. Strip away the astonishment of all he has accomplished, he has remained a truly humble and appreciative man.
Thank you NASA for continuing to inspire the young and the young at heart. Thank you for giving us a group of men and women who are fearless, the best of the best and sending them into Space so people like me have a chance to live out our dreams. Thank you Joe Acaba for being more than I had hoped you would be and for showing me that anything is possible.