Yes, I watched Felix Baumgartner

How could I not?

Live on the internet? 24 miles up in the sky, about to jump? 8 million people watching? I’m stunned he made it – you’d like to hope they were reasonably sure he would on account of not trying if the odds were seriously against it. Not that there are any guarantees around exploration.

My generation is a touch hard done by. I can watch the ISS passing over my head several times a year at the moment. Someone sends me a notice via twitter to let me know in advance (it’s usually cloudy). The first day I saw it is the first and only time I saw a space shuttle passing overhead as well. Fantastic. The ¬†moon landing was before I was borne. I’ve lived through consolidation work on the space exploration front. I get to see pictures from Mars on a regular basis and Voyager II is hooked up to send a tweet every day. I read about the Voyager probes in a Youngline annual.

But….something huge, something to grab the imagination. Something to grab the Boldly Going Where No Man’s Gone Before thread of life….Frankly, it takes someone to go down to the bottom of the Mariana trench. We have no vision for the future of space travel for humans, it seems to me.

Well maybe they do in China but haven’t told us yet. Hard to tell.

So yeah, Felix Baumgartner. 39 km in a balloon, direction up, then jump. Of course, a few checklists in the middle, couple of years building stuff but…somewhere along the line the thought of I want to do this and how do I do it, what are the barriers and how do I overcome them. As simple as that.

Someone give NASA and ESA the money and the momentum to plan manned trips to Mars. Give us hope in the future and recognition of the abilities of humankind to have visions and act on them.