shoot for the moon

Image via the NASA Goddard Photo and Video Flickr stream under a Creative Commons license.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

OK, it’s a lame quote. And it doesn’t make any real sense, because the moon is like, millions of miles closer to us than the nearest star, the sun, so, if we shot for the moon and missed we’d be…somewhere between the earth and the moon, and nowhere near a star.

Still, it reminded me of when I literally wanted to shoot for the moon. For a few years of my childhood, I really wanted to be an astronaut. REALLY. I read all kinds of books about space. I even read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time over and over again, until it stopped feeling like it was melting my brain and I started understanding it (I was in middle school). I begged my parents to let me go to NASA Space Camp.

But it turns out real space camp is friggin’ expensive.

Instead, one summer, I got sent to some science daycamp at a local elementary school. We made space suits out of tinfoil and Saran Wrap and learned about planets and space shuttles.

But we did not get to pull any G forces or play in any simulators. There was no freeze-dried astronaut ice cream. They might have served us TANG.

What a letdown.

Next time my science-loving dad gives me grief about being a grad student in English Literature, I’m going to say: “Maybe if you let me go to real space camp, I’d be an astrophysicist or something right about now.”

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5 thoughts on “shoot for the moon

  1. “Shoot for the moon. If you miss you’ll burn up on re-entry or fall into a stable orbit where you’ll slowly freeze to death as the heat radiates away from your body into the infinite, uncaring void, until all that is left of you is an oddly-shaped hazard to other spacefarers.”

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  2. I totally wanted to be an astronaut, too! I saw the movie Space Camp and went on a year-long campaign to persuade my parents to send me there. Didn’t work. But I did get an astronaut Cabbage Patch doll. #fail

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  3. The exact same thing happened to me. Those space camp brochures would come in the mail and I would beg and beg to go every year. One year they sent me to a lame-o science day camp. We kept pet crawfish for the the first 4 days and then dissected them on the last day. Trauma. That’s probably why I ended up majoring in history and going on YL staff. Oh well.

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