Star Trekking Across The Universe (Not)

21 Jul
Atlantis deploys the landing gear before landi...

Image via Wikipedia

Are you happy or sad the Space Shuttle has been retired?

This is the second time we’ve been asked this question, and Nancy suggested I re-post my first answer.  Given the state of the economy, and in a bid to save the world, I’ve taken her advice, because it’s good to recycle and re-use things; so don’t go thinking it’s laziness on my part that brought you here.

I waited for today to answer this question (again), because today, Thursday, 21 July 2011, sees the return to earth of the last Space Shuttle; the last flight any shuttle will ever make.  I could cry. 

We should be out there, crossing the final frontier.  And by ‘we’ I mean, of course, ‘the Americans’, because, well, that’s what they do.  I’ll settle for the Russians, the Chinese, the Fijians if necessary; but I don’t read or speak Russian, Chinese or Fijian, so following a space programme on their websites – assuming they have websites; you know how secretive the Fijians are – is going to be difficult.

That’s the mushy bit over with; here’s the original post, complete with the WordPress prompter’s then-factually incorrect question:

Tomorrow is the last Space Shuttle mission. Does this make you, happy, sad, or indifferent? Why?

Okay, it might not be tomorrow; it might already have happened because I’m writing this yesterday but in the future of the moment the prompt was given. So it might be tomorrow, or not: Space Shuttles are notoriously unreliable. I guess any plane that needs a parachute to land is going to have glitches, however, so I don’t hold that against them.

I am truly sad that the era of the Shuttle has come to an end. We should be out there in space, doing stuff.*

*Bear with me: I’m an enthusiast but not so hot on the technical jargon.

Stuff is what we do: search out new lives and new civilisations. Boldly go where no split infinitives have gone before.

It started with the bloke who thought, ‘This village is all right but there must be more than just us out there,’ and went to see for himself, dragging his missus and kids along so there was always supper on the table and someone to haul the water.

Having found he wasn’t alone in his universe and there was, in fact, another village over yonder (with his missus sighing, ‘It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it: they eat their bread butter side down. I blame that Seuss fella’), he felt the urge to search out more villages, maybe one with a posh hotel and a shower: ‘Clean me up, snotty. I’ve travelled five miles to get here.’

And so he (it’s always a he because paternalistic attitudes prevail even in these enlightened times when a woman can’t get elected President because she doesn’t cry and people don’t like it because she’s hard and then she does cry and people don’t like it because who wants a cry baby as leader of the free world?) conquers the villages he visits and moves on to the next. On to towns, cities, shires, countries, new worlds across the sea, taking care not to fall off the edge on the way.

Finally, he thinks that space might be a good idea because those pesky communists wanted it first. Illogical, yes, but great motivation.

In 1969 he makes one giant leap for mankind (have you tried walking daintily in those huge suits?) and celebrates with a game of golf and a growth industry of conspiracy theorists who claim there was no way he got a hole in one with no shadows to prove it.

Some of his mates follow in his moon boots then bam! 1972 passes and nothing…no more moon walks that don’t involve a single white glove.

How did that happen? It’s like someone decided: been there, done that, got the space shirt; now we have a parking garage and huge garbage dump and we can live happily ever after.

Maybe they have a point: despite all the movies, we haven’t been invaded yet. What self-respecting alien wants to live in a world that uses space trash instead of ozone to keep the temperature ambient? A world that doesn’t want a follow-up to velcro?

Clearly, our prime directive is to save money and stay at home, avoiding the neighbours.

Of course I’m sad.

22 Responses to “Star Trekking Across The Universe (Not)”

  1. vivienne Blake July 21, 2011 at 09:46 #

    I think they speak English in Fiji, so you’re OK there!


    • Tilly Bud July 21, 2011 at 11:18 #

      I really must check facts beyond their spellings 🙂


  2. misswhiplash July 21, 2011 at 09:56 #

    Ya know TillyB I have had more laughs since I discovered you than I have had for a long long time.
    That was a really great post, I love the illustrations and I loved the Mr Explorer-man story.

    Keep it up ..I am waiting with baited breath…..


  3. misswhiplash July 21, 2011 at 09:57 #

    Can I press the LIKE button time after time after time????


    • Tilly Bud July 21, 2011 at 11:20 #

      Unfortunately not, but I appreciate the sentiment 🙂


  4. Cindy July 21, 2011 at 12:28 #

    Very entertaining, Tilly!


  5. Paula Tohline Calhoun July 21, 2011 at 13:41 #

    Oh, Linda – I don’t know where I was when you first posted this, but I’m so glad I have it to read now. This is by far, to date, my favorite of favorites of your many posts. I laughed, I cried, I. . .(you know the drill!) I’ll probably print this one out to share with the non-tech-old folks I know who will really enjoy it. Thank you for the tears this morning. All of them.


    • Tilly Bud July 21, 2011 at 19:04 #

      And you’ve just made my day! Thank you Paula 🙂


  6. SidevieW July 21, 2011 at 16:05 #

    I remember watching the first shuttle come in to land. Very dramatic watching a tiny spot on the screen for ages, then all of a hurry and it was over.

    I think I m definitely SAD!

    There is one spaceshuttle as well as a blackbird and a concorde already at the air and space museum outside Dulles Airport in Washington. All 3 looked sad as though they rwanted to be up up and away agian.


    • Tilly Bud July 21, 2011 at 19:05 #

      I could cry for them, such beautiful birds should be free 🙂


  7. sanstorm July 21, 2011 at 19:02 #

    I lack the pioneering spirit, but enjoy yours 🙂


    • Tilly Bud July 21, 2011 at 19:06 #

      Thanks 🙂 I doubt I’ll be one of the first space tourists, but eventually…who knows?


  8. earlybird July 21, 2011 at 20:30 #

    How come I missed this first time round? Good post, Tilly.


  9. kateshrewsday July 21, 2011 at 22:28 #

    It’s not friendly behaviour, is it?
    I reckon the next leg of the space race will be funded by the big corporations. We’ll be back out there in deep space, only with COSTCO emblazoned on the side.


  10. nrhatch July 22, 2011 at 16:08 #

    I love it when people follow my advice. 😀

    And I adore the cartoons you found to post with your re-posted post ~ it made it a pleasure to read . . . again.


    • Tilly Bud July 22, 2011 at 22:20 #

      It needed the illustrations this time, I thought.


  11. Janie's Place July 22, 2011 at 20:27 #

    Tee-hee! Funny post.

    I guess this means the shuttle program has “given ya all I’ve got,” but is officially “dead, Jim.”

    I wouldn’t worry, the Genesis Matrix will undoubtedly resurrect it, but first we’ll have to import some whales into San Francisco Bay and get them to tell us how. Otherwise, how will we ever read MacBeth in the original Klingon?


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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