38 Years

My parents had been married for 44 days when we first went to the moon. They’ll have been married for more than 44 years when we next go back.

My brother was born two days after Apollo 17 lifted off on its way to the moon. Two days later, Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt landed on the moon for the last time.

My generation’s space memory is Challenger. America had never lost a crew trying to reach space. My generation grew up with the idea that losing people on the way to space just wasn’t something that happened … until that dark day in January 1986. I was seven years old that day and in first grade. That day, something clicked in my head—people were willing to die to do this. It was Important.

It still is Important, at least to me.

We do not do these things because they are easy. We do them because they are hard. Ad astra.