Today I've learned that scientists have discovered a potential planetary system that could support LIFE! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12837988 I have hoped for this day since before I had ever read any of Heinlein's works. And it seems we may actually have businesses recognizing the value that a space industry can provide with all the spaceports that seem to be popping up around the world. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12835483/
One of my dreams has always been to go into space. When I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut with all my heart. When I got older, I realized that I'd have to be in the military, and more than likely have to make it into the Air Force Academy to even get a chance. Although a few military sorts have recently told me I would have made a good officer, at the time, I didn't feel like the constraints of military service were my cup of tea... especially with the gender issues that were highly publicized when I was in school.
To think that space tourism may accomplish that same dream within my lifetime is just so amazing. There's a part of spirit that soars with the idea, and there's a part of my spirit that wishes RAH could have just held on a bit longer. He would have been the ultimate space tourist.
And as with most of his stories, the onset of space travel quite often heralded what he referred to as the Crazy Years. National ID cards, government poking its nose into citizens' private lives, fear and hysteria... I think the unfortunate thing in most of his books is that the Green Hills of Earth eventually went the way of the dinosaur.
That's one of the biggest lessons for me. How do we, as the human race, accept the challenge of space and at the same time win the challenge of a viable planet Earth?