Loving NASA and All Things Space

Mark Tobola

Loving NASA and All Things Space

3 mins
August 17, 2021

I've probably mentioned many times before, but Space and Space Exploration are topics that really get my attention.  I really love learning about what is being planned for future exploration, what's going on now, and the history of space travel. I just saw a documentary from National Geographic called "The REAL Right Stuff," and it went through information I had never seen before regarding the USA's first space flights, the Mercury program. I learned a great many things about that program during the documentary, a good number of which I'd never once heard of before.

But there were a pair of large surprises. While I was growing up and learning about all of this, I always kind of looked at these people as heroes. They were portrayed as being the best of what their field had to offer, and also good Christian men, many with families, and were just... really well polished and poised and really an exemplary crew of people. History shows that one of them lead on that front, and that was John Glenn. When they showed the first news conference with the newly announced astronauts, there was an air of indecision and borderline shock with them, and they just didn't know what to do. And John Glenn broke that mood. And as the training went on, and many of those astronauts wanted to go and be "wild" in their new-found fame, it was John Glenn who roped them back into the wholesome actions they should be partaking in.

The other thing that really got my attention was learning that during that first press conference, one of the Astronauts mentioned something that really caught me by surprise. They cited that their current status must have been like the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk 50 years ago. And it hit me...that at that point, with jet aircraft, all sorts of aviation records made, all sorts of experimental aircraft flown. It was all of 50 years since the first flight.  ONLY 50 years. And there they were, leaving the planet and going into outer space.

It struck me so much because we hear about how since the 70s, technology has advanced so far... But it got me to look back at history since 1900, and from 1900 to the 1930s, there was incredible forward momentum in science, health, technology, and standard of living. And then it jumped again from the 1930's through the end of the 40's...  and it jumped again into the 50s. And in it has continued on since, at an incredible pace.

One of the early NASA administrators had given a speech and discussed how this goal of getting into space would require creating all manner of items to make it possible, and much of it was electronic, scientific, health, and manufacturing related. And we are reaping the benefits of that today.  In fact, thanks to programs like NASA and others, there are huge leaps forward in every area of our lives, and more advances are coming. All because of sending a person into space. Who would have ever thought that the process of putting a man on the moon would benefit the world so great, and for so long after?  I can't wait to see what else is coming.

This article was orginally reported by
Mark Tobola

Mark Tobola is a resident of Thorp and weekly columnist.