Space. The Final Frontier. That’s what they said on TV. When I was a kid one thing that truly grabbed my imagination was Space. I was always one of the geeky kids who was into science and all that mad stuff. The Space Shuttle is one of those things that has always been ‘around’ since I was a kid. I grew up watching Shuttle missions, I remember the very sad days of the Challenger and Columbia disasters, watching the newsreel on the BBC in shocked silence and wondering if this would be the end of the Space Shuttle program. I even remember writing Space Shuttle story (with illustrations!) in class when I was only 11 years old. I’ve always loved Sci-Fi that takes man beyond Earth, right from the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek to Arthur C. Clarke. All that stemmed from my early childhood passion (spurred on by my parents) for looking at the stars and wondering what was out there and how we might get there one day.
Well I’m a lot older now, much water has passed under life’s bridge and my interest in space had more or less wandered off. That was until 2009. I had tried Twitter before, but it didn’t really strike me as anything but a cute novelty. I don’t know what drew me back, maybe it was Stephen Fry, or just wondering if it had ‘grown up’ any in the 6 months I’d been away. Well the answer was ‘yes’. Grown up it had, in a big way.
So how did I end up here? Think of it like a reverse game of chinese whispers, where the info gets *better* the further along the line you go. A semi-local guy I know who’s also on Twitter and is an astronomer and photographer piqued my interest when he started re-tweeting stuff from Astroengine, a website that runs all manner of space and astronomy news. Through Astroengine I got wind of stuff going on in the American space program that I’d never heard about or knew of. There’s been a lot of news these past 6 months about the subject given the economic crisis and the budget ‘adjustments’ and the future.
Now I’m gonna pause the tape here and point out I’m from the UK, we don’t see a fat lot in the news over here about space programs anywhere, unless it goes very right, or alas very wrong. In itself, the internet helps but I’m pretty lazy. I don’t tend to chase these things unless someone is there spurring me on.
So where was I… Well through a few more choice ‘follows’ I picked up from Astroengine I ended up following the founder of this fine blog. From there I picked up various other people with their fingers on the very pulse of space exploration. From a guy who lives not 30 miles from me, to the heart of mankind’s pioneering exploration into space. That is the magic of Twitter, and that is why I am here, writing this. When I was a kid I’d never have thought I could watch news roll by from people at KSC about STS-127’s launch delay, and up-to-the-minute reports. I certainly didn’t think I’d be able to talk to people there and ask questions. Twitter lets me and 100s of others do this. It’s a powerful thing. One day mankind will begin to further explore the Final Frontier, but to do it we need to unite as one and look to the skies together. Tools like this help us start to do that. Here’s to that future…