I have somewhat of a mild interest of outer space. I remember in my first year of high school putting together a presentation on space exploration in front of the class, building a model space shuttle and describing the launch process to my slightly bewildered classmates (presentation partner included). My favourite physics classes had focussed on planets and I enjoyed reading sci-fi fiction and watching shows like Stargate SG-1 and X-Files, trying to teach myself how to identify constellations as I watch the night sky - I'd even attempted writing a sci-fi story in college sometime later but that failed (apparently sci-fi is too difficult a genre to write for in children's literature). Admittedly, that once burning adoration for space waned as I grew older for whatever reason. However, I still get that old familiar little tingle when I look up and spot Orion (my favourite constellation) on a clear night or watch a video about space that really gets you in the seat of your heart. I got that old familiar feeling this morning when I found this:
NASA Stardust Mission photos
(I was looking at these whilst listening to this song - I recommend you do the same.)
Looking through these, I wish I at least kept enough of a casual learning curve in astronomy to identify what some of these photos are (I'm guessing one of my favourite ones, which I have dubbed the Ring of Fire, is of a galaxy or a supernova). The photos of the planets are also breathtaking on their own.
I sure hope that USA's planned NASA budget cuts don't affect these kinds of missions any more than neccessary. If we're to keep exploring further outside our little blue dot and help future generations grow, we need these missions to keep showing us the beauty out there. I for one would love to reach out to the night sky and grasp a star in my hands and when I see pictures like these, I really feel like I could.