Most of us on board were able to see the shuttle launch. We were about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral when it went off. It was good to see it go up and I couldn't help but feel pride in the technological accomplishments that we have made in science. Maybe because I've spent my whole career in science, it just seems a marvel that we have accomplished so much technologically, yet there is the flip side in which I wonder have we made a difference for the planet.
All signs point to the fact that things aren't getting better--water quality isn't better, air quality isn't much better, habitat is being lost, fisheries are depleted and global warming is looming. The populace seems to care more about Paris Hilton than about education or the environment. Those kinds of things are really disturbing. But for at least that brief shining moment last night, I could be a kid and look at that big rocket booster and the tiny shuttle being propelled with human cargo into space. We all cheered as we watched the orange ball and the contrail streak across the sky. Makes me want to be a rocket man for a day.