I didn't even realize it till I saw everything in the news, but yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. A few of my readers (ok, probably two out of the three!) probably don't remember that day.
But, for me, it's not an understatement to say that day shaped who I am today.
I don't remember watching the launch at school - but I do remember hearing about it shortly afterwords over the PA system.
I remembered being extremely interested in space, science, math and all things NASA after this point. I wanted to know all about solid rocket boosters, o-rings, being an astronaut, etc, etc. I loved learning about space things...and I knew that I wanted to be an astronaut. :-)
From that point, my dreams morphed along the years. I was fortunate enough to go to Space Camp twice - and that was truly one of my dreams that came true. It was awesome...and dorky. But, really, really cool. And I don't think that kids should be knocked for having dreams of space, going to space camp and then ending up somewhere completely different in their lives. Everyone needs dreams to work towards and just because none (or maybe 99.9999%) of us are nowhere near space shuttles, doesn't meant that those experiences didn't shape us.
I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, but the job market is always so cyclical, I think I got talked out of that one in late high school.
So, here I am today...mechanical engineer...doing something that I enjoy very much...
But always keeping an eye towards space...and thinking about how a single day 25 years ago can shape someone's whole life.