Does no more shuttles mean no more Space Camp?

Obviously bingeing on NASA-related content this weekend with the Atlantis launch/space exploration wake. It’s overall been depressing, but a bright spot is the lovely retrospectives. Slate jumped in with an adorable picture essay on Space Camp which got me googling for some shuttle pop culture nostalgia.

The late 80’s collection of press photos, with kids gleefully geeking out are just perfect. I wanted to go to Space Camp for the longest time as a kid. My summers were spent with books instead of camps though. I’m sure this contributed to my science fiction addiction, so I can’t complain. Heinlein’s ‘Space Cadet‘ was a great gateway drug, though I’d be interested in reading his juveniles now for both pleasure and to spot the casual chauvinism.

No mention of Space Camp would be complete without this movie.

I asked TMM if he had ever watched a movie about Space Camp.

“You mean ‘SpaceCamp’? The one about the kids who have to go into space because one of the SRBs accidentally got ignited, and they had to switch the other one on and go up because there was no way to switch them off.”

That’s the one. He then added: “I watched it in cinema.”

I knew there was a reason we got married.

Shuttle flight deck at Space Camp, U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Space Camp has always known rompers were hot.

I’m pretty sure I had the novelization of the film which I’m sure, like all of my other YA paperbacks, I absolutely destroyed. That’s what Amazon is for though! Obviously, I never went to Space Camp, though I did date someone who did. Kind of the same? No? Oh well. Doing some internetting I found that there is an adult space camp option in Alabama. I won’t lie and say I’m not at all tempted. However, I think my imagination has contracted a bit over the last decade. For me, I would think most of the thrill about going to Space Camp is, for at least that time until you realize you don’t have the mental capacity to pass calculus, that you can believe someday you might be an astronaut.

With the Shuttle program now in its end stage, and Discovery and Endeavour being stripped and sanitized for delivery to their final resting places, I have to wonder if kids growing up five years from now are going to even want to be astronauts. I doubt the end of the shuttles will mean the death of the dream of exploration for the sort of curious and geeky types; we were never in doubt. But is it gradually going to become an elite sort of affectation? In some ways, it already is, when you ask your fellow countrymen how to solve the budget crises and they say “Cut NASA.” So does it mean it’s even more likely that the average American child is no longer going to be exposed to the idea of that there’s more to life than the quotidian.

I guess my little 80s/90s pop culture binge hasn’t helped. The Drive By Truckers are probably more appropriate to listen to this weekend anyways. And, watching a bit of YouTube, SpaceCamp definitely hasn’t aged well.


About tara

Often heard to refrain "I left San Francisco for this?" Formerly homeschooled. Living the dirt-poor post-student expat life in various non-urban areas of England's North. Sanity preserved by cooking yummy foods for a multiple allergy diet.
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