Can you imagine if I told all of you just a few years ago that rockets can be re-used after landing themselves shortly after take-off? Or that a trip to Mars is planned for this decade? How about that a 37 year old billionaire is taking people on the first ever all-civilian flight to space? You would most definitely think these are April Fool’s jokes.
But nope, they are real.
And hopefully you have noticed the trend here— it is the melding of man and machine that allows these achievements. It is these achievements that allow humans to dream further and bigger. And it is dreaming further and bigger that brought flight to Earth, then to the Moon, and soon to Mars.
That being said, we are in the middle of a pandemic that is receding in some ways, yet much of Western Europe is experiencing new lockdowns, and the US CDC Head is imploring Americans to stay vigilant, continue wearing masks, and practice social distancing. So where does that leave us, when parts of society are enjoying great wealth and exploration, and others poverty and lockdowns?
It leaves us exactly where I believe AAA is needed most, and was, in fact, created for. We are an outreach organization first and foremost, whose purpose is to open minds and foster curiosity. Whether it is for those who can literally aim for the stars, or those who are grounded and can only look up with puzzlement, AAA is available to everyone.
While we cannot force people to enjoy learning about the cosmos, we certainly can make it easier and more accessible. And we are striving more than ever to do just that. Our telescope loaner program in conjunction with the New York Public Library is sure to be a smashing success. Our class offerings have never been more popular. Our lecture series is now online and reaching across the globe. Our astrophotography meetups are lively and fascinating. Our new podcast is bringing in thousands of listeners. We will slowly and carefully begin our observing around New York, with telescopes for the public to use. Our new website will be rolling out shortly. And our membership has never been stronger and more involved.
We could not do this without you— you who are looking up and wondering. Each of you helps us to lift humanity a bit more and get just a little closer to the stars. That is something we can all be proud of.