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Space Craze: Do Your Kids Want To Visit The Stars?

Space shuttle launch

Space shuttle launches used to be a huge deal to kids.

Weather at the Kennedy Space Center forced a 24-hour delay in today’s scheduled shuttle launch. That gives you and your kids an extra 24 hours to scoot down there and watch it blast off if you want to.

I’m betting you’re not rushing out the door, though.

25 years ago, my seven year old self would already be in the car with her sleeping bag, waiting to be taken to the shuttle launch. Houston was like Mecca to my whole second grade class.

These days, kids don’t seem to care. Sure, there were a handful of astronauts mixed in with the princesses and zoo animals in my kids’ Halloween class photos.

But I didn’t even know there was a shuttle launch planend until I saw the headline about it being rescheduled. It seems possible that my 6-year-old doesn’t know what a space shuttle is.

I might have a skewed perception of how big a deal the space program was to kids in the 80s. My first grade teacher was a finalist to go up in the Challenger. We spent the whole year building and setting off model rockets, and then he went to Washington for a week for interviews.

This was all pretty awkward a year later when he was pointing at the big-screen in our school auditorium saying “See, kids, this could be me!” just as the Challenger blew up.

But I digress. The point is that space was HUGE to us, and I think to my whole generation. Being an astronaut was on every kid’s dream list.

Has our culture just moved on to a place where space travel is so last year? I’m kind of OK with that. Space travel is expensive, destructive to the environment and diverts resources from more immediately helpful humanitarian causes.

But it’s also insanely cool. How are 6-year-old’s not fascinated by this?

Photo: Matthew Simantov

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