Column

Searching the Sky: Just two obstacles between me and space travel

David Baumgartner writes about a lifelong dream.

This article was contributed by David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.

 

Ever since I can remember, starting back in the early ’50s, my dream was that I wanted to be a part of the space race. I wanted to be the first astronaut to go into orbit around the Earth and the first to go to the moon. 

I didn’t really care where I went, I was young. I just wanted to get out of the house. But I didn’t achieve any of those dreams. So the best thing I could do was blame my parents. That’s normal, isn’t it? 

I slowly gave up on those dreams and went on to dream about other interests.

Years went by and, after missing out on all the space glory, my chance has come around once again, providing me with a new opportunity to achieve my dreams. All I need is $250 million and I’m in. 

And depending on which billionaire provides the ride for me, I will go into space for three hours, or go into orbit around the Earth a few times and come back down softly. 

As usual, in life’s dreams, there are a few glitches in the way. Small glitches in this case, but workable ones. 

The first one will be the ability to get on the flight list. I hear the list is long—so many wealthy people to compete against. But I can work that out when the time comes. 

The only other small glitch is coming up with $249,999,987.62. For I have $12.38, which I was saving to use for travel later on in life. But I am willing to part with it in order to achieve my dream ride. 

Now the rest of the money is really not a big problem. I figure that I have so many friends out there that if each one would give me just a few thousand dollars each, and the proper handling of GoFundMe, I shouldn’t have to worry about this financial glitch at all. (In reality, I’m not asking for money, so no letters, please.)

So with all the glitches taken care of, let’s just say “I’m in.” I can’t wait to obtain weightlessness. To see the Earth where we spend all our lives and notice how insignificant we are after gazing upon our beautiful yet fragile blue word, would be unforgettable.  

I would think that this wonder would have to be No. 1 on everyone’s bucket list, even though some of us can’t even afford the price of the bucket.

I guess if I had an actual point to make here it would be that maybe it’s a good idea to let the private sector get into the race. They have the means, the smarts, and the money. Let the millionaires pay their way on my dream ride. I really can’t afford it now anyway, can I?

I am quite excited that we as a country are getting back into the swing of things as far as getting our butts off the launching pad and making it a bonafide space race once again. 

The race of our time is coming and more fierce than before. But this go-round it’s not just the Russians we have to contend with. We have more companies now; ESA (European Space Agency), Japan, India, Canada, and of course China, all more than happy to show they can keep up with NASA for supremacy in space. 

It would be my hope that these organizations could work together in a common way, save some money and have an excuse for getting along. Luckily for everyone, so far these nations seem to be doing just that, though in a limited way.

It looks like this old man is out of the race. Or is he? If we could bring up the discussion again about funding my dreams it just might work. So let’s get those checks and GoFundMe offerings in. You never know. After all, they sent William Shatner up and he is older than I am.

Hope you all had a delicious Thanksgiving. Christmas is next.

 Clear Skies.

 

Up and coming for this month

Dec. 2: Moon passes 0.7 degrees north of Mars

Dec. 4: New Moon

Dec. 4: Moon is at perigee (221,702 miles from Earth)

Dec. 4: Venus is at greatest brilliancy

Dec. 6: Moon passes 1.9 degrees south of Venus

Dec. 7: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Saturn

Dec. 9: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Jupiter

Dec. 10: Moon passes 4 degrees south of Neptune

Dec. 10: First Quarter Moon

Dec. 14: Geminid meteor shower peaks

Dec. 15: Moon passes 1.5 degrees south of Uranus

 

David Baumgartner

I am a local fella. Local schools from Fremont, Sacred Heart, Santa Anita, Hollister High, to San Benito Jr. College (Now Gavilan). Then joined the US Air Force where I specialized in Airborne Radar. Married my high school sweetheart JoAnne., shortly after three children arrived; Cindi, Michael, and Lisa. Somehow we ended up with nine Grandchildren.  Went on to San Luis Obispo, Questa, Colleges, and on to Univ. of New Mexico. Came back to Hollister. Opened up Three Pet Stores; Dave's Aquarium Pets & Supplies in SLO, Watsonville, and Hollister. The family spent two and a half years running a ranch up in Oregon. Made our way back to Hollister.  Got my Real Estate License in 1982, opened my own office in 93'. In the mean time raised Swans and revitalized my old hobby of Astronomy.  In 2001 I was named Chamber of Commence Man of the Year. I think I was the only one nominated. I don't care, I'm taking it. In December of 2018 I retired. Not sure if I was forced out or not. None the less, I am retired and I think it was time. Now the last thing I have to do is buy a coffin. I hear COSCO sells them now. But the only drawback is; you have to buy them in lots of six.  I guess I could buy them for the whole family. Not that funny, but thrifty.