February 1st, 2003

barometric waffle linguists (pic by me)

Space shuttle explodes on re-entry

In case you haven't yet heard

Seven astronauts dead, and may their souls rest in peace, but that's not why I'm crying. (I work at a newspaper and report death day in and day out; I've been trained not to cry at bodies.)

I'm crying because the space program is one of our best and most concrete hopes for broadening our horizons past this little dirtball. It's our gateway to a frontier we've only just started to realize is there for the exploring.

And, like Challenger before it, this is going to be another nail in the coffin of manned space missions.

Seven astronauts are already dead, but I fear our dreams are dying in front of our eyes.

Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Dave Brown, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Mike Anderson, and Ilan Ramon: Thank you for your bravery. I honor your ultimate sacrifice. May it not have been in vain.

ADD, 1:12 p.m.: I was wrong about not crying over the astronauts. They were explorers, professional dream-chasers. That hits where it hurts, you know?

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