Can you remember what you wanted to be when you “grew up”?
Until I was about 15 and had to start filling in careers advisory forms, I dreamt about being an astronaut [laughs head off now].
It might have been because my mum sat me in front of the 1972 moon landing when I was a baby, but whatever the reason, being something of a space nerd definitely played a big role in knowing my husband was the one.
Excuse me while I digress and remember the moment: On a date (in a light aircraft), he flew us at a low altitude down the 4.5km-long runway at Nasa’s Cape Canaveral. ‘Wow, this is what you see when you return from a mission,” I thought to myself, amazed.
(It was the closest I’d ever get to being an astronaut, because, the truth is, I wouldn’t last five minutes in space with all that bird-legged bouncing around, zero-gravity puffiness and endless freeze-dried food.) And, obviously, if we attempted to fly low over the space shuttle landing facility now, we’d be shot down. Pronto.
But my fascination with space is still there and bubbled over on a visit to the Kennedy Space Centre on holiday. My most memorable moment of the entire trip took place when the doors to the new $100m Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit opened.
“Is it real?” I gasped, eyes wide as I walked slowly up to the black-and-white space shuttle. Presented as though it’s in mid-flight, the Atlantis still bears all its scuffs, scorch marks and space dust from her last mission. “Yes, it’s real,” confirmed DH (who used to see the shuttle zoom past while buzzing around Florida airspace years ago).
In awe, and so close I could almost touch it, it was as much as I could do to not start clapping.