Atlantis Brought Us Back To Earth, Too

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, September 1, 2011

Atlantis was a mythical civilization forever lost at the bottom of the sea and this summer the space shuttle that shared its name became the last of its kind to leave Earth for orbit around all of this world's mountains and oceans.

Some day, this nation will return men and women to space, to the moon first and then on toward what will become humanity's greatest extraterrestrial journey yet-Mars.

The day should come.

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Exploring space together-because sustained planetary travel will require nations to partner on the component technology, sharing its cost-can bring us closer together as people on Earth. That ongoing human journey on the planet we share has no amazing lift-off following a tension-building countdown but it remains our most compelling and crucial expedition. This “space ship” which orbits the sun as it flies in its galaxy through the universe provides the opportunity for those small daily crossings over the chasms that divide us, sometimes seemingly meaningless moments that can somehow transform the hours and days ahead.

Space is not our only frontier, nor the final border across which we are bound to go. Too frequently, the most important space is the gap between two people. But the spirit that drives us on to push against the limits of our understanding of the universe must not become a flame extinguished. We must lift off again. If we allow the flame of exploration to be snuffed out, Earth will find its own dark side shadow spreading, too, across this world's mountains and oceans.