(Updated .)

This is a two part rant. First, I'd like to give my most heartfelt condolences to the families of those that died on the Columbia yesterday. My prayers are with you and those that have gone on ahead of us.

As a child, a teacher once asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. My answer was simple, but kind of amazing now looking back more than twenty years later. I wanted to be an astronaut. That's always been one of my dreams. Even now that I'm way too out of shape, and of no condition to even be considered seriously as an applicant to be an astronaut, it is still one of my dreams. Anyone that ever truly wanted to be an astronaut will tell you that it's dangerous, but that they would gladly put their lives on the line for the opportunity. I would too. Not just because of the danger, or the experience, but because it feels right. Man was meant to travel to the stars. It is part of our ultimate destiny. We belong in space.

In the next few days, weeks, and months, people will cite this accident as part of a growing movement to not waste money on space exploration. Some say that we've learned all we can about space already and there's no point in doing manned missions any more. Others say that there's little real science being done in space now, especially with the International Space Station. And yet others say that it's too expensive, and that there are other more important things to spend the money on. Don't let any of these people sway your opinion. There is far more to outer space, and the universe than we'll likely ever understand. There is far too much to learn to let it go to waste. The Earth, while resilient and our native home, is far too fragile for humanity to remain rooted to it. For humanity to move forward, we must explore the cosmos and colonize other worlds. We must push forward with our space programs.

I think that's all I'll say right now... The rest of what I want to say doesn't mesh so well with the other part... so I'll come back later.