Shooting for the Stars

By A.C. Smith and Jamie Neben

A.C. Smith

I was a child when the first moon landing occurred, and I was able to see it on television.   As I watched with awe along with the rest of the world, I also found myself concerned about other things, like safety, because it’s something we hadn’t done before.  If things went wrong, how long would it take us to get back to exploring space?  Would it slow down growth and knowledge?  One other question I had, even as a kid (and since) is whether the results of the space program were worth the cost.

Since that historic day, forty years ago, we’ve made technological leaps and bounds with cell phone service, satellites, surveillance of other countries to prevent possible attacks, and a lot of other benefits that come from space exploration.  So, it’s always good to shoot for the stars. 

Even though we’ve done well in developing technology, I don’t notice some other fields of study, especially the medical industry, moving forward at such a rapid pace as before.   We can do more to learn about the brain, how people retain knowledge, and how to stay healthy.  The cost of medicine should go down.  We have more equipment but run far too many tests.  By now, at my age, and seeing where we were years ago, it seems we should only need one or two tests using equipment that checks the whole body.  That’s what we should strive for and where we should invest our money. 

Shooting for the stars with things we do in the U.S. will help people in poorer nations too.  Once we find cheaper ways to do things, we’ll help millions of more people. 

Jamie Neben                                                   

A lot of hub-bub (not to be confused with Hubble) is being made about the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.  And rightfully so.  This giant leap for mankind was merely science fiction not much earlier in the century.  When President Kennedy announced his intention to reach the moon by decade’s end, it became much more than a pipe dream.   It was a proclamation that the impossible exists only in our thinking.  In essence, there’s nothing we can’t do.  I believe we should continue to incorporate that mantra into our minds as individuals, as a nation, and as the human race.  

Of course, we have laws of nature and physics and so forth that we currently do not have the knowledge or tools to overcome.  But we still have many boundaries to push in the meantime.  Atomic “supercolliders” may eventually unlock the secrets of the universe, while DNA and stem cell research may unlock the secrets of the body.  Each one of us can stretch our own limits as well.  Maybe it entails leaving the comfort of home to visit new and faraway places to gain life experiences.  Or changing careers at middle age to follow your passion.  Perhaps, it’s taking a chance on love.

Whatever goals we set for ourselves, let’s just keep moving forward, and like A.C. said, let’s shoot for the stars.  The satisfaction that comes with accomplishment will echo JFK’s reminder that we do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.   Now that we’ve been to the moon, let’s recall another famous quote to guide us even further….”to infinity, and beyond!”