At a year’s close, before looking ahead, one can’t help but become a little retrospective. 2011 was a big one for me.
Looking back, this year included a regular fleet of red-letter firsts:
- We celebrated the birth of my first child, Grayson.
- I decided to stick my toes into the NewSpace entrepreneurial maelstrom and started my first business, Astrowright.
- In a fulfillment of a lifelong ambition, I attended suborbital scientist-astronaut training at the NASTAR Center.
- I completed my first year of grad school at UND (and then some), rounding the halfway mark toward a Space Studies degree.
- To defend my own research, I was forced to engage an angry post-doctoral researcher in print.
- At work, we supported radiological emergency response for the Fukushima nuclear disaster – (heavy stuff).
- In a complete surprise, I may have had a field/popular science television project land in my lap.
The wheels, as they say, keep turning, and it’ll take me a while to process it all. However, in the meantime, there’s 2012 to look forward to! While many claim it to be an ending (of civilization, the world, etc.,) I find that endings only represent new beginnings, and here are a slew of new beginnings we all can look forward to in the coming year:
- The first commercial spaceflight of Virgin Galactic‘s SpaceShipTwo!
- The first docking of a commercially built-and-operated spacecraft, SpaceX‘s Dragon, to the International Space Station!
- The third-annual Next-Generation Suborbital Researcher’s Conference – where I believe the partnerships of tomorrow’s commercial space ventures are being forged!
- The Mars Science Laboratory, a car-sized exploration rover named Curiosity, will land on Mars in Gale Crater to search for evidence of life!
- NASA’s GRAIL spacecraft will zero in on the Moon’s uneven gravitational field, paving the way for more advanced operations, such as a potential lunar base!
There are others, and this list is obviously biased, but my point is that in contrast to the drumming of the apocalyptic marketing machine, there is much to look forward to in the coming year that will set the stage for even more exciting events in 2013.
So, let the doomsayers have their fun. The venturers will have the last laugh.
Cheers to a safe and prosperous 2012!