Why We Look Up
SpaceX is poised to send two American astronauts to outer space from Cape Canaveral, flying in a Crew Dragon capsule and atop a Falcon 9 booster. A US spacecraft, on a US rocket, carrying US citizens, launching from US soil. Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken stand on the precipice of history, like so many space explorers before them.
It’s a thrilling time.
Crew Dragon Launch Painting. Ltd Ed., in the shop.
When we started building Supercluster a few years ago, it was with a hopeful eye toward this day. At the time this flight was only a vague dream; the end of the Shuttle program was still a recent, bittersweet memory, and Russia’s Soyuz was the only way to get our astronauts to space in the foreseeable future.
But there was a feeling that never faded: the US was going to return to space. We are after all a space-faring people, it’s been part of our cultural and national identity since the days of Alan Shepherd and John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. In all we’ve flown more than 350 Americans outside the warm embrace of our atmosphere, a number that surpasses every other nation by a factor of more than two. While space travel is an endeavor we philosophically undertake as Earthlings, rather than citizens of any specific nation, we are certainly a country with eyes toward the sky and beyond. We brave the unknown.
SpaceX's DM-2 mission for NASA will test a new ship with two space veterans on board. A different kind of ship, the first passenger craft to be flown by a private company to space. A new level of accessibility for the most inaccessible places we’ve ever been, built by a company that decided to try the impossible.
We're going to go out on a limb here and say that Yoda was actually wrong when he said “Do or do not. There is no try.” We disagree, small wise Jedi. There is try. It’s in the trying that we discover the most about ourselves, about our world, and about the unknown that surrounds us in all directions beyond our planet. It’s in the trying that we find our limits, fail, and then exceed them. We dive in to trying things that seem impossible, trying things we’ve never done before, trying things we know will probably not succeed. Because it’s in the trying that we learn to actually do.
We don’t ever stop trying. That’s why two astronauts are going to space this week.
And that’s why we look up. Up is where we can still explore, it’s where the unknown is, it’s where we find new and fantastic ways to challenge ourselves and disregard limits in pursuit of things we can hardly imagine trying.
Space travel is an audacious and daring adventure currently achieved by our best, brightest, and most experienced. For the rest of us, It will momentarily remain a vicarious experience, lived through the eyes of a chosen few. But we are all part of the journey and we all live the benefits. In knowledge and technology, in discovery and inspiration. Most of all though, in the embrace of a shared story. When humans go to space, we all look up together.
The current state of the world dictates that we won’t all gather on the space coast tomorrow to watch this historic flight. We’ll mostly be isolated in our homes or sparse workplaces, eyes glued to the live stream. We think for this one, we're going to put our laptops on a high shelf.
When this rocket takes off, we want to be looking up.
(DM-2 Prints available in the shop.)