My good friend Rick Lee and I are spacemen.
We’ve never walked on the moon or actually participated in an EVA. Technically, we’ve never crawled into a lunar module, or transmitted a Christmas message as we orbited the moon. We’ve never been in ticker-tape parades, waving at the adoring crowds.
Fact is, nobody has ever asked us to be astronauts, but we’re still willing. Since we were kids, we’ve watched the space program since they were putting monkeys up there. We watched as Al Shepard spent the first fifteen minutes in space in 1961. We knew that Gus Grissom either did or didn’t blow the hatch and lose the Liberty Bell 7 to the ocean depths. We listened as John Glenn went from Godspeed to Zero G and around the earth. And all the others.
We’ve talked about this many times and agreed that, if they would only ask us, we’d go to space right now. We would drop what we’re doing and be at Cape Canaveral or Cape Kennedy, whatever it is today, ready to kick back in those seats and say cool things like “Let’s light this candle.”
Rick and I are believers. For about fifty years, it seems to us that space exploration has become dull and boring to a younger generation. If we mentioned it, they would look at us as though we were talking about whether the Lindbergh boy would make it or not. That got me to thinking. The time between the Lindbergh flight and the moon landing was 42 years. The time between the moon landing and today is 48 years. It’s no wonder they look at us like we have six heads. We probably sound like Gabby Hayes in an old western.
Elon Musk could change all that. Two days ago, he launched the SpaceX Falcon Heavy into space. The two rocket boosters detached and made soft landings—right on the bullseye. And literally on top of that, he put a Tesla Roadster, complete with a dummy spaceman, in outer space. I’ve seen the pictures. That brand new automobile is floating out there like who wouldn’t have it. It was supposed to sail to Mars, but it’s off course and likely headed to an asteroid belt. Some experts say it’ll be destroyed by micrometeorites and radiation.
I wish Elon Musk had talked to me. I would like to have a Tesla Roadster. I looked up the price. They say it’s $109,000. Now I have a perfectly sound 2002 Ford Explorer sitting in my driveway, just longing to go Mars or an asteroid belt. To look at it, you’d think it already has micrometeorite experience. I have checked with Rick, and he doesn’t want to ride in it on terra firma, much less outer space. It leaks oil and the shocks aren’t good, but I think it could’ve made the trip. I would have gladly traded this car to Elon Musk in exchange for a Roadster. It seems to me we’d both be happy.
So Rick and I will keep waiting. Now that I’ve published this, Elon Musk knows we’re out here. We may not have fancy new cars, but we’ve got the Right Stuff.