The space shuttle: the shape of things that never came.

Or How The Space Shuttle Promised Me The Universe, But Left Me On The Gantry Of Broke Dreams.

Sad truth about how many people will ever walk on another world.Courtesty of XKCD

It seems appropriate that the final Space Shuttle mission launch got pushed off the front pages and main broadcast news coverage by the Murdoch News of the World hacking scandal. I wrote this feature for The Independent about what the Shuttle meant to my generation. Do read it. It’s perhaps the most personal piece I’ve ever written. The graph below, found for me by @arthurascii, quantifies my sadness. The article photos feature my Hubble telescope print of a photo of Saturn that we bought with our wedding present money, a Space Shuttle backpack, mostly hidden 70s worm logo NASA t-shirt, Ladybird books on The Rocket and The Hovercraft, a fridge magnet from Cocoa Beach near Cape Canaveral and a book of Space cross sections, featuring the Shuttle Orbiter. Below I’m adding relevant clips to programmes/events mentioned in the article.

In the article I explain how watching Carl Sagan’s  Cosmos TV series was a formative experience for me and helped fuel my hope about the Space Shuttle. His warmth and optimism about the possibilities of space exploration inspired a generation of scientists and dreamers. The powerful Hollywood film, Contact, based on his own novel, used his ideas about worm holes as a “transit system to our nearest stars”.This is the TV show clip that I will never forget.

About samiraahmed

Journalist. Writer. Broadcaster.
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