Photo credit: http://www.history.com/topics/challenger-disaster
This was especially exciting because there was a school teacher, Christa McAuliffe, on board. It was the first time such an event was to take place. Students around the world resonated with this event because a model they could relate to, was on board. A teacher, a person they knew and understood, was going into space. In some areas, children were downright giddy with excitement as the witnessed “their” teacher wearing an astronaut suit.
It didn’t lessen the importance of all the other Specialists on board. Each person there represented a part of our history, our culture. This was a big deal, and we were watching it live! Finally, NASA had the spacecraft down to sixty seconds, then what seemed like an eternity, down to ten. Our children counted down with them and in a breath, the spacecraft lifted up and launched into the air. It was history and it was amazing.
Seventy-three seconds later, what seemed like barely a blink, compared to the waiting of the countdown, the unthinkable happens. The Space Shuttle Challenger, disintegrated. We watched in horror as they replayed the clip again and again. Nothing except fragments and broken lives, dreams and unequaled horror as all who watched, grasped the finality of the event; death of every person on the spacecraft.
As I look back on this historic event I can’t help but contemplate how far we’ve come. I’m not just talking about in space exploration; there are significant scientific strides in many other areas, as well. But not all forward strides have necessarily moved us forward.
The medical world has made incredible improvements forward, even as new diseases continue to rear their ugly heads. Technology, cell phones and computers are a part of most every one’s life; social media has become so important physical conversation has become difficult; virtual reality video games thieve our young people, and so very much more has been dramatically changed since 1986. In some areas, subjects compared from 1986 to 2018 are unrecognizable!
My point to all this is history is important and each event is one more thing added to the chapter. The space shuttle Challenger was huge in the whole scheme of things and worthy of remembrance. But we’ve moved on to new and greater space exploration…..or have we? Sometimes it seems, like I mentioned earlier, the strides forward actually take us backward or at least down a sad, slippery, slope. Are all perceived forward movements really a move forward?
Perhaps my perspective is a bit cynical, which is unusual for me. But as I look at our world, the changes over the last 40 years, in my humble opinion, has not all been for good. Yes, the methodology has been there, the interest and even the funding. That doesn’t, however, necessarily make it all good and right.
I invite you to share your opinions with our advancement in society. How far have we really come since the Challenger disaster?