Why does anyone deserve to go into space? The answer to this question boils down to the ideal qualities of an astronaut. Scientific, technical and engineering knowledge would seem to rank highly, perhaps some leadership qualities, along with physical fitness and ability to work in confined spaces. But what else? There are many people who can fit the profile and are equally deserving, based on the above criteria, to be blasted out of a rocket past the edge of the ionosphere.
I have a poster signed by Julie Payette that says, “Avec un peu d’effort, le monde peut etre a nos pieds.” With a little effort the world can be at our feet. Not a statement of arrogance, or of forcing submission, but a proclamation of how far we can go if we just try.
Community outreach is a huge part of being an astronaut, in my opinion, because astronauts are inspirational figures who show us the impossible is possible, that it’s not too far out of reach. They represent the crystallization of potential into the fabric of reality, and that role cannot be understated.
Which is why, from now until the end of the Apollo contest, I will be wearing an astronaut costume to capture one photograph with a new person every day. I will volunteer in various organizations and wear the suit where appropriate. I want to prove to the world that I care enough about humanity that you should care to send me into space. I hope to earn a bit of your trust, faith, and hopefully spark a little inspiration along the ride.
As a species we have tasted but a small portion of what Mother Nature offers us in our vast universe, and I have gazed toward the heavens since I was a child. As a pilot I have risen part of the way, and now my heart bellows its demand to leave our Earth behind. Along the way we will find ways to make our home a better place. Even if we don’t find evidence of life elsewhere, at least when we return, we’ll be secure in the knowledge that we’ve pushed the boundaries in the pursuit of insight.
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About Hal J. Friesen
I write non-creative fiction, play science and study cello, moonlighting as a spaceman when the need arises.
After growing up in Prince George, BC, I tried to resist the pressure to specialize and got a Bachelor of Science with a Joint Major in Chemistry and Physics. I went on to shoot tiny targets with massive lasers and snagged–or was snagged by–a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
Now working as an R&D Engineer, I spend my working hours making and breaking new concepts and ideas, before going home to unleash my unfettered imagination in the world of creative writing. I live in Edmonton with a cello and a gnome painted like Super Mario. Just recently I’ve taken on the role of co-president of the Edmonton Writers Group, and have begun my Astro HAL campaign to do community outreach and collect votes in the Axe Apollo contest.