In March of 2009 a young bat gave his or her life in the pursuit of adventure, and in doing so captured the heart of a nation. NASA chronicled the odyssey of “space bat” in Interim Problem Report 119V-0080. Ultimately his or her unsanctioned attempts to break the bonds of earthly existence were deemed acceptable in ICE-01. NASA believed that space bat most likely perished soon after launch, but at the very least he/she lives on in our hearts. I like to think he/she made it to orbit, I like to think his or her little mind was doing back flips the entire way. And while I know it is impossible, I hope that he or she found the peace he or she sought among the stars.
As we approach the end of November, and the final launch of the space shuttle Discovery, it is important we remember what a rich history it has. Space bat, is just one of several hundreds of heroes that have climbed aboard that vessel in the hope of challenging the stars. But, space bat enjoys the special privilege of having been the only member of his or her species to ever attempt space flight of their own volition. He or she is a true American hero and truly a symbol of Discovery.
I hope that everyone will take a moment to remember space bat in those few short seconds during countdown before Discovery makes it’s last voyage into Ginsberg’s dynamo.