One of my most favorite movies is Apollo 13, the story of Lim Lovell and his ill-fated mission to the moon. I don't know why I love that movie so much, but it probably is due to a combination of the space exploration, technology, and human perserverence. The era is very compelling to me, as well, as it must have been such an incredible thing to see our country conquer space and land on the moon.
One of the scenes in the movie strikes me as very telling. It is the scene where the crew is broadcasting from space, and the families are watching but none of the television networks are broadcasting. Clearly, Apollo 13 didn't become noteworthy until the ship was in trouble and the crew in danger. Isn't it a little like that today. Space exploration has become so routine that we don't even notice when a new ship is launched or lands. I remember the day when I would feign illness so I could stay home and watch a shuttle launch. I remember being in shock as I watched the Challenger explode after takeoff. Now, I don't even know when it's happening. That's sad.
That being said, I was getting ready for work today and had CNN on...we were launching a shuttle at 2:38am EST this morning. It just happened to be 2:32am EST when I found it (I am in Amsterdam, so it is 7:32am CET). One of the cool things NASA has is NASA TV, so I logged on real quick to watch the launch. They have uninterrupted audio between Mission Control and the crew, so I prefer that to TV.
Isn't technology awesome, where we can put men and women in space AND watch it over the Internet. Too bad we are so used to it, we take it for granted.
I'd rather feel like an awestuck kid again.
(NB: I saw Jim Lovell and Gene Krantz speak at a company event several years ago. They spoke about the mission, and the incredible teamwork that occured, and how it was necessary to overcome the damage to the ship. It was very motivating).