Lo and behold, as I was sorting though a mass of dusty old papers, I came across a few items from the very first job that I landed in Paris over 20 years ago. In retrospect, it was a much better job than I deserved. At that time I was fresh out of college, had limited French and knew very little about anything of consequence - in short a typical twenty-something young woman, newly married, very wet behind the ears, on the first real adventure of her life in Paris, France.
After a few years we once again decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the Atlantic and we moved on. But I still have some great memories of my time at COSPAR and I try to keep up with space exploration projects going on in Europe and other places. There is a lot more going on than one would imagine from reading the newspapers, watching the news and trolling the Internet. Space just isn't big news these days and perhaps that is understandable given the various crises that have people afraid for their jobs and governments agonizing over their national budgets. Still, it's sad that we have so little time or inclination these days to dream of the final frontier. And it's a bit short-sighted since our ultimate survival as a species may in fact depend on our getting off this damn rock one day. As Robert Heinlein once said, "The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in."
Happily there are still scientist and engineers quietly working on it and making progress. Here is what ESA (European Space Agency) has on the agenda for 2012.
That is what is as we start the second decade of the 21st century. For one of the best reads about what could be, check out one of my all-time favorite science fiction novels, Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh.
Bon dimanche à tous!