Captain’s Log: Stardate 10309.3
This past weekend marked the tragic loss of seven astronauts and our second space shuttle, Columbia, in over 100 shuttle missions into space. I’m reminded of the opening screen image to Star Trek IV, a dedication to the crew of Challenger, the first shuttle disaster. “The cast and crew of ‘Star Trek’ wish to dedicate this film to the men and women of the spaceship Challenger, whose courageous sprit shall live to the 23rd Century and beyond.” The same would hold true for those that were on board Columbia, as would for all the brave men and women in the space programs throughout the world.

I’ve heard people ask if there is really a need for these missions. Is there a true gain to be made from all of this funding, effort and risk of human life? Similar questions were asked of ocean voyages during the 15th Century. Similar questions were asked of the British families who came to this country in the 18th Century. Similar questions were asked of those who headed west in the 19th Century. We need to realize that, despite that the words originally came from a 1960s science-fiction television show, space is the final frontier.

Perhaps that is why, in 1979, the first shuttle orbiter was rolled out for the public to see, and on hand were DeForest Kelly, Walter Keonig, Nichelle Nichols and a few other original cast members. The shuttle never flew, but has been placed in a museum in Washington DC.

It’s in a museum dedicated to man’s outstanding achievements, and that shuttle is named Enterprise.

On behalf of the crew of another Enterprise, which may not be very fast, or may not be designed to explore space, but is nonetheless a ship of dreams and hopes for a promising future, we proudly salute those men and women who risk their lives to boldly go where none have gone before.