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Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 12 of 12: Outtakes for the Ride Home

Space Shuttle!

Once more, just the noses: the Space Shuttle Explorer and a shuttle booster in the Kennedy Space Center‘s Rocket Garden.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

…and then we came home. The End.

Wait, no, I did that wrong. Last call for Florida photos!

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Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 7: Space, So Near Yet So Far

Explorer!

As of 2007 the Space Shuttle Explorer was docked in Florida, and we were there. Extra points to experienced Highlights readers who can spot me and my son up there.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

Longtime MCC readers are no strangers to spaceflight imagery, from the Kansas Cosmosphere in 2012 (link and link) to the Space Shuttle Enterprise‘s temporary residency in Manhattan as of 2016, American space travel has proven quite the must-see whenever we’re in one of its neighborhoods. None were larger or more captivating than the original Kennedy Space Center.

If you have the opportunity to see it yourself one day, do so. But make sure you see it all. And keep in mind you can’t do it by yourself. Literally.

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So Long, Mr. Armstrong, and Thanks for All the Steps

Neil Armstrong, 1930 - 2012When the crew of the Apollo 11 flew their previously voyage to the moon and took those fateful first steps on the Moon on behalf of all humankind, Neil Armstrong was 39, Buzz Aldrin was three weeks short of 39, and Michael Collins was three months short of 39. When I was 39, I took my first step in Manhattan. They win.

It should go without saying how easy it is to be impressed and intimidated by the monumental nature of such an accomplishment, and at what seems like such an early age, all things considered. It’s no surprise that all other Internet news was therefore benched and ignored today when word was received that Neil Armstrong just passed away at age 82.

Over the years, our family has encountered a smattering of examples of what Armstrong and other astronauts made possible, particularly the vehicles and tools they used to break all those barriers and dare the impossible.

The Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, 2007. Some were unmanned; some very much weren’t. If the moon landing hadn’t happened, I imagine much of the later flights would’ve looked very different, if America had bothered with them at all in that depressing, isolationist alt-timeline.

Rocket Garden, Kennedy Space Center

In 2009, the Field Museum of Natural History offered us the chance to remote-control this li’l simulated Mars Rover. If Armstrong and His Amazing Friends hadn’t reached the Moon, it’s safe to say landing anything on the surface of Mars would’ve remained a science fiction pipe dream, and Curiosity would have never existed (to say nothing of the effect on curiosity with a lowercase ‘c’).

Mars Rover, museum RC version

At first I thought about truncating this entry and centering solely on this image of an Apollo spacesuit (also from KSC, 2007), which seems more solemn than any astronaut ever ought to be.

Apollo  Spacesuit @ Kennedy Space Center, 2007

On second thought, I decided I prefer this heads-held-high tribute from the Kansas Cosmosphere, June 2012 — a fitting expression of admiration for those great deeds, emboldened by the hopes that someday they’ll inspire and be followed by deeds even greater.

Ad Astra per Aspera

May God bless you and keep you, Mr. Armstrong.

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