September 4th, 2018

star wars!

SPACE


When I was a kid we had a ton of old National Geographics detailing the early Gemini and some of the Apollo missions, and I was fascinated by them. My Dad also had a bunch of old Time-Life books, a couple of which touched on various facets of space and space exploration; at some point we picked up Asimov's 21st Century Library of the Universe, which I spent long hours pouring through.

Recently, while at the local used book store, I came across the Time-Life volume LIFE in Space, which I highly recommend for anyone interested in getting a solid feel for the early days of space exploration--although it focuses on NASA's programs, it includes sidebars on some of the Soviet missions and the German contributions to rocketry. Reading it makes me feel like a kid again, to the point of choking up a little on all the swelling emotions of hope and awe and excitement. Watching some of SpaceX's launches gave me a taste of that, but this book practically knocked me on my heels. I'd managed to forget just how focused I was on all that as a kid--I had multiple LEGO space shuttle sets, a whole bunch of more fantastical space vehicles, and the X-Wing and Y-Wing and a bunch of other vehicle sets from Star Wars--and when I was a kid, the origin of the thing didn't matter, just whether or not I could imagine it flying around in space. I watched any movie from the library I could find that was even vaguely space-related (Contact was a distinct disappointment), and can still remember scenes from Space Camp, which was kind of dumb but just what I wanted at the time. For years my favorite bookmark was one commemorating the launching of Cassini.

I lost a lot of that wonder over the course of college, and then forgot it almost entirely in the daily grind since then, although a few things sparked it here and there along the way. (Interstellar's first trailer, for instance.) But recently it's been hitting me again, first with some of SpaceX's launches and landings, then hearing about the end of Cassini, and with rediscovering my deep love for the original Star Wars trilogy (and the excellent written sequels by Timothy Zahn), and especially with the game Subnautica--which is set underwater, but has many of the same challenges you'd deal with in outer space. I don't actually ever want to live one Mars or whatever, but it sure is fun to dream about. I love Earth, and especially my little piece of it, but it's good to have something to look up at.

All that to say I'm very likely going to buy No Man's Sky next time there's a sale on Steam. Bring on the alien worlds!