For the past several months, I’ve been a fan of Abigail Harrison — Astronaut Abby — an aspiring astronaut who spends a lot of her time inspiring other young people, including children, to appreciate and be involved in STEM education and activities.
Two things stuck out to me about this astronaut-in-training:
- I’ve no doubt that she must be ridiculously busy — school, space exploration advocacy, fundraising, etc. — but she seems to respond to everything! For someone shooting for the stars, she sure is down to Earth!
- She hopes to be the first astronaut on Mars! This is awesome on numerous levels. There has, in my lifetime, been no positive event that rivaled that of decades before my birth: the moon landing. To bear witness in my lifetime to a human setting foot on Mars — especially one whom I’ve had brief conversations with? WOW! More wonderfully, and more long term, my daughter will get to watch Abby’s project grow, and in her teens or twenties, she will (I hope!) get to witness Abby’s Mars landing as live as it possibly can be!
We need something to hope for, something to inspire us in the same way that the space program inspired us back in the fifties and sixties. We need to see ourselves not as separate peoples divided by invisible border lines but as a global human species.