Forever Footsteps

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It's been a crazy month for space exploration. The Mars Curiosity landing has me all in a tizzy, and fond memories of Sally Ride linger in the back of my mind. I wasn't alive when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, but even the echoes of that step were enough to inspire my childhood passion for space.

I cheered for the Curiosity Rover. I look at every picture the twitter feed sends out, and I marveled anew that we have the opportunity to explore our sister world, even though it must be vicariously. I grabbed books about space and started to devour them in preparation for a budding unit I'll share with my students this year.

I cried at the death of Sally Ride. I also smiled as I remembered how amazing I felt when I saw a woman heading into space. Then I cried again in memory of the moment I watched the Challenger explode on live television. Humanity dares to explore, but our daring is never without price.

I gazed at the moon in tribute to Neil Armstrong. I had, just days before, read a picture book written by Buzz Aldrin and another specifically about Apollo 11. Strange timing, indeed. Then I shared the video of the first steps on the moon with my younger son. He watched it and then said, "His footsteps will last forever, right?"

My passion reignited, I'm ready to try to light a fire in my students this year. Maybe one of them will set foot on Mars. Maybe they will engineer the ships that take us another step into the final frontier. My footsteps may not last forever, but I'm touching the future.

"I touch the future. I teach" - Christa McAuliffe

(Check out a cool article about how there are no good pictures of Neil on the moon. We often see a photo of a full astronaut on the moon with Neil's quote - but that is Buzz. Neil had the camera.)


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