At Phil’s request on Show & Tell (https://youtu.be/zkYnwXtnysE?t=1515), here is what I wrote down after witnessing the Falcon Heavy launch on Feb. 6.
“Today’s first flight of the Spacex Falcon Heavy illustrates the two things so necessary in our lives: dedication to a kind of shared dream that pushes the edge of technology forward and perhaps more importantly the whimsy to do so in such a way as to be best remembered as a work of art. The old masters of science fiction were very romantic about space travel, writing down their visions so that perhaps some portion of their love for the idea found its way into the hearts of not just their generation, but all those going forward. I think Elon Musk understands this quite well, choosing to make an admittedly rather expensive artistic statement thinly disguised as a heavy lifting vehicle test, but in future years a statement that will look quite economical given the paths now open to us.”
Nothing makes me feel like a kid again so much as watching a rocket launch. I had to watch Apollo 11 on a 13″ RCA Admiral black-and-white TV when I was not-quite five years old, and even so the enormity of the event overcame any technical limitations as a viewer. Of course when you are barely out of nursery school everything seems enormous, but even then I knew this was an early career-defining moment for me. As I said during the show & tell segment, just keeping making things and who knows, the next starman could be yours.
extra: for some CLI fun, on a shell terminal type
telnet ssd.jpl.nasa.gov 6775
At the Horizons> prompt, type spacex and hit enter