We are watching Apollo 13. I wouldn’t have thought kids this age would like it, but they are fascinated with space, and they asked. Nova episodes, planetarium shows, The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System, that They Might Be Giants song about shooting stars – if it’s about astronauts or planets there is no limit to how many times they’ll watch it/listen to it/make me read it or sing it.
I remember that time in my own life, as a kid. I suppose most of us do; it was right around the time the Challenger exploded. Or during yet another round of arguments about NASA’s future. Tragedies and budget cuts are not exactly the stuff to inspire the heart and mind of a young girl who’d rather be playing princess, so I’d forgotten.
Like so many things that amazed me as a child, I forgot until I saw Riya enthralled by the sight of Jupiter in the evening sky a few weeks ago. I forgot until I heard that Ben knew the names of all the planets. I forgot until I realized that Karina knew exactly what a shooting star really is because of that song.
Space is amazing, and fascinating. My kids are in awe of it because it’s awesome, and the engineers and astronauts who take us there are inspiring. Screw the recession and the budgets and the mistakes. Maybe my kids will go to Mars someday.