The Space Shuttle Atlantis took its first flight on October 3, 1985. 25 years and 33 missions later, it was retired at the end of the shuttle program in 2011.
But it won’t be forgotten. On January 18, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to launch the construction of a new 65,000-square-foot exhibit.
This will be the new home of shuttle Atlantis, celebrating its history and the special role it played in space exploration and our progress toward a better tomorrow.
I really like what they’re doing with Atlantis, especially with the architecture of the new exhibit.
Truth is, I’ve always had a thing for retro-inspired, futuristic concept art. Even better if that art is based on reality. Just do a search for the 1980s posters and concept art of EPCOT Center, and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
I like it because it represents a time when we were optimistic about the future and excited about science. It was a time driven by the space race, ignited by Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. Celebrated by places like EPCOT Center and the House of the Future.
Back then, the sky was just a stepping stone. There was no limit to what we could accomplish.
Like the motto of the old Horizons attraction, we truly believed that “If we can dream it, we can do it.”
Today, maybe that’s not the case. We don’t have flying cars or fully-automated kitchens. We don’t live on space stations or in awesome communities of tomorrow.
We have a lot of cool things, to be sure — iPhones, electric cars, the cloud. But we’ve become so distracted by the corporate world we live in, and apathetic to science in general. I think, when we didn’t end up establishing a moon base or traveling to Mars, when space exploration turned out a little more difficult than we had initially thought, we collectively lost interest.
Not all of us, of course, but most of us. I wonder if we’ll ever capture that optimism again.
That’s another project for another day.