Sunday, April 29, 2007

Doohan & Cooper Are Now Star-Stuff

Yes, Saturday was the day when "Scotty" and "Gordo" became star-stuff.

If you remember my previous post on the subject, James Doohan (who played "Scotty" in Star Trek) and Gordon Cooper (astronaut for the Mercury and Gemini space programs) were to have their remains launched into space. Well, a little before 9AM, a small rocket carried a few grams of their ashes and the ashes of about 200 other space-lovers into low earth orbit:

HERE is a video of the launch (followed by a little news article about Trekkies making their own films in Scotland – sorry, it was the best I could do, but if you geek out and enjoy the Trekkie part I'll have to make jokes about the age you lost your virginity at).

Here's another interesting and oh-so-juicy tidbit for you lovers of great sci-fi ideas come to life: The rocket that launched Scotty and Gordo's remains was the first rocket launched from Spaceport America, the location where Richard Branson will be locating his space tourist business (Virgin Galactic), in the New Mexico desert not far from Los Cruces. (Yes, the same one who will fly Stephen Hawking up there). Sure, the spaceport is just a concrete slab right now, but within a couple years it will be the start of a new industry, with rocket launching facilities comparable to Cape Canaveral.

Oh, Jesus, a shiver just went up my spine. Is it . . . yes! It is! A twinge of excitement! Suddenly, for that moment, I lost my jaded working-for-evil-biotech blues and actually felt the thrill of pursuing civilization-shaking science. Oh, to be a rocket scientist in the coming years!

Cooper, Doohan, wherever you fellas are at this moment (other than orbit), I hope you're tuning in to my digital bits right now and feeling my honest admiration for what you've done. I'm not talking about the actual advancement of technology. I'm talking about firing the imaginations of several generations of kids like me (okay, the kid I once was, and still am inside). And when your ashes fall back to earth and become cremated all over again, let me say it will be an honor to look upon you in that shining sunset and think about space tourists flying through you to the final frontier. Hell, I might just be one of them.

UPDATE (5/11/07): The rocket failed to reach orbit, and crashed in New Mexico! See this blog post:


Maggie said...

Speaking of working for evil biotech company - how is the new promotion and all?

Angry Lab Rat said...

Well, Maggie, you know how it goes: Another day, another dollar. But when the dollar gets bigger, the days get longer. Otherwise, same 'ol grind. Maybe I'm a tad less jaded, though.

Here’s the post about the recent raise and promotion: