Fragile Oasis

Connecting Space and Earth: Learn. Act. Make a Difference.

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Fact: My Son Has Never Known A Time Without Humans Living In Space

My nine-year-old son has never known a time without humans living in space. In fact, my son has never known a time when the benefits of space exploration haven’t had a direct impact on the quality of his life here on Earth. I think that’s a pretty awesome thing!!

How cool is it that not a day has gone by in the past ten years when we couldn’t go outside and look up and know that human beings have been continuously living and working peacefully together on the International Space Station (ISS) as they circle our planet every ninety minutes? Maybe this seems like a simple thing to a lot of people; maybe it doesn’t seem so important to a lot of people; or maybe, and sadly, a lot of people don’t even know it.

Our view of the International Space Station and our beautiful Fragile Oasis from Space Shuttle Discovery after undocking on March 7, 2011.

A common theme of mine is how amazing the International Space Station is. I’m not so short-sighted as to think that the ISS is the be-all end-all goal of space exploration. I am totally on board with the need (yes need), for us (yes us) to continue to explore beyond low Earth orbit. But I also think we need to remind ourselves more regularly of the magnificent spacecraft we have orbiting above us. We need to remind ourselves of the engineering and political challenges we have taken on -- and successfully overcome as a global community -- as we’ve built and occupied this beautiful spacecraft. We need to remind ourselves that the international crews onboard the ISS are working continuously and quietly everyday to improve our lives here on Earth, as well as helping us to learn more and more about how to live, work, and explore farther away from our home planet.

My hope is that no child in the future will ever know a time when we aren’t living and working in space, and continuing to explore for the benefit of us all.