“Liftoff of space shuttle Discovery, beginning America’s new journey to the moon, Mars and beyond.”

Welcome back to space, guys. I took a break out of my workday to head over to the bookstore and watch the launch on their large TV. I can’t help it — space exploration is just so exciting, so romantic to me. I love that we continue to push the boundaries of our knowledge and reach for the stars; in this case, I mean this quite literally. I think that a launch is a very visceral, very tangible symbol of our human nature — our desire to reach out, explore, learn more about ourselves and our universe, both despite and because of the risks. We do this all the time in the sciences and the arts. But few breakthroughs are as visually stunning and emotionally swelling as a fire-charged escape from our planet’s gravity, a quite literal release from the traditions that we once thought were impenetrable. Our explorers are our future, and I hope to be one in my own field some day.

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