We shall never cease


We shall never cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
-T. S. Eliot (1888 – 1965)

179 thoughts on “We shall never cease”

  1. I was in my high school dorm room when I heard about Challenger. When I heard about this one the same feelings and songs popped into my head.
    My prayers go out to crew and their families.

  2. Wil,
    Thanks for posting this. We have friends in the astronaut corps, although none were on board this morning. Still, we mourn the loss of this crew.
    And we keep looking upward and outward!

  3. Thanks, Wil. I’ve been feeling like I was 9 years old again ever since I woke up (which was half an hour ago, so I woke up right in the middle of this CNN coverage) and I’ve been trying to find some kind of quote to help me deal… I should have known to look to Eliot. Thank you.

  4. I’m visiting outside Dallas right now…I swear to god I thought something huge had been bombed. Scary. And Guy, thats the one being shown on the news by NASA.

  5. I woke up this morning to an instant message from a friend in Dallas talking about how she saw it happen.
    It’s so tragic, and my heart goes out to everyone affected, as I’m sure yours does too.

  6. I honor the sacrifices that these seven people made for the cause of expanding human knowledge about the Universe, and Earth itself.
    Let’s hope like hell that in the following days that people will have enough decorum not to make or tell cruel and tastless jokes about this tragedy.

  7. When I was 12 years old the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed. I became so interested in these brave people, astronauts, that I clipped nearly every article you can think of regarding the disaster and the space program. I became obsessed with the space program, went to Space Camp 3 times, got all the real manuals, checklists etc. It got me so interested in space and aviation I just knew I had to fly.
    Flash forward to today. I am an airline Captain at age 27 and lucky as hell. Those 7 astronauts so long ago have so much to do with that. Then you wake up and it is happening all over again.
    Let average Americans have no doubt, there are individuals who several times a year strap into the what represents the pinnacle of human scientific achievement, the ultimate vehicle of exploration, and one of the most dangerous things ever created. While we view the 30 second clips of successful launches and landings on the nightly news remember the incredible intelligence, desire, and bravery of the many at NASA espically their astronauts as they achieve what little boys and girls only dream of… and sometimes forget. Let’s never forget the crew of STS-107 and their desire to show that sometimes dreams do come true when you attempt to achieve the impossible.
    God Bless STS-107 and Hail Columbia! Godspeed.

  8. Honestly, I don’t understand why everyone’s in a tizzy over this. I suppose it’s America’s need to feel as though every tiny setback is a huge deal in order to make up for how wonderful things are for us (by comparison to most of the rest of the world) all of the time. Being an astronaut is a dangerous job, and NASA is as careful as it is because it’s a dangerous job. If anyone ought to be surprised by anything, they ought to be surprised that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often.

  9. Wow.
    And most of us here, not me, not you, not even William fucking Shatner, will know how fabulous it felt to be those people in the days before they died.
    Okay, maybe you — but I’m too old by now. :)
    (My reactions to it are on my own livejournal: http://mactavish.livejournal.com — It’s not all cogent, but I’m using the space to try to *get* cogent.)

  10. I’m rather disappointed in myself. it seems that due to 9/11, I’m not phased by this. The closest I got to sadness was during the press briefing and O’Keefe broke up while talking about the families. In fact I’m rather pissed because this will kill the space program.

  11. It’s amazing to watch a dream actually go up in flames. These shuttles are so expensive and the investment involved is so formidable it just blows a hole in your heart to see so tragic an ending.
    I’m especially touched by stories on the first Israeli astronaut. He is the son of an Aushwitz survivor and actually carried a drawing of the moon done by a 14-year old boy who drew it as a prisoner in Auschwitz. All the Israeli political commentators said he was the only thing these days that seemed to transcend the bloody trap of history the country has found itself in.
    I know this should go without saying, but it just doesn’t seem fair.

  12. Very touching and appropriate quote, Wil. Thanks. When my mother called me this morning to tell me to turn the TV on, I couldn’t believe it. In watching the news coverage, I’m instantly ten years old again and remembering the Challenger. I know, as someone pointed out, that space exploration is dangerous and that these people knew they were risking their lives, but it’s still heart breaking to see something like this happen…especially when you consider how close they were to getting home. I can’t imagine how their families must have felt. My heart goes out to the families of everyone in that crew.

  13. My mom woke me up this Saturday morning, telling me the Space Shuttle was falling. This is all too much like waking up in January of ’86 and turning on the radio to hear the Challenger was gone. Right now I’m feeling… Like I’ve had a fever and everything is sort of hazy and grey. I cry, I go to the gym, I listen to the radio, I cry a little more.
    We have to keep flying in space, but we’ve got to get a more reliable system in place than the shuttle. There have been around 113 flights and two total losses, so we have a little under a two-percent total failure rate. Keep flying the shuttles, but please, we have to put a less failure prone, more modern, system in place, and we have to more beyond a system that is capable of only LEO flights. Don’t abandon Station Alpha because of this, don’t stop flying.
    God bless NASA for doing its best. Their astronauts, families and technical people are the best there ever were. Godspeed Columbia.

  14. Thank you Wil.
    My thoughts are with the families, and my hopes are that the space program will not be daunted.

  15. Well quoted Wil.
    I got the news this morning when my friend called me up and told me what was happening and to turn on the news. I then called my parents and told them. This just brings back far too many memories of 17 years ago, although not quite as personally painful because this time I didn’t know anybody on board. Still, it is a horrible tradgedy. But the seven brave souls knew the risks when the climbed on board and wililngly accepted them. They truly are among the most honorable people on earth.
    Hail Columbia.

  16. very disappointed in James asking why eveyone is so broken up about this because we knew the space program was dangerous?
    not to sound argumentative, but, what a jackass!
    that’s a kin to saying why mourn anyone when they die? We ALL die, right James?
    Maybe when you die, James, no one will mourn you.
    But that’s just the way you want it, right?
    No one is saying “HOW did this happen! They’re saying “it’s a SHAME it happened”

  17. I’m old enough to remember the reports of the fire on “Apollo 0″, holding our breath for the crew of Apollo 13, the look on Dan Rather’s face that morning as it appeared on my tv and thinking “Challenger was supposed to go up today…”
    It doesn’t get any easier. Nor should it.
    Beautiful tribute…thanks

  18. Thank you Wil. I was woken up a little before 7 am Pasadena time by my boyfriend in Tucson calling my cell phone. Seeing as I work for NASA at JPL and Caltech, I know our thoughts are with the families of the astronauts who were lost. Even though I was only 4 and a half when the Challenger accident happened I remember that as well and immediately thought of that when I saw the video. . .

  19. I can only hope the American people show the same resolve they showed post-Sept11…the right thing to do to honour the fallen dead is to get back to work…to make sure the things these people worked so incredibly hard for aren’t lost because we are afraid to let it happen again…my thanks to those who have gone before, and my thanks to those who will take the next brave step back in to space…heroes, all…my prayers to the friends and family of the lost…

  20. ~Nothing Gold Can Stay~
    Nature’s first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf’s a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.
    ~Robert Frost

  21. Great tribute, Wil. Simple and dignified. These people are the best, and they push the envelope for all of us.

  22. My heart is saddened as I’d hoped to never see another “tragedy” from our friends who travel and work in the Space Shuttle. A flood of memories has hit me because the loss here echoes that of “Challenger”. I’m at a loss for words.
    I remember seeing ST:IV The Voyage Home and the dedication to the men and women of the Space Shuttle Challenger. I remember holding back tears and being unable to think clearly for the first 20 minutes of the movie (which I would go and see 3 more times in the theater). I remember the tingling inside and the feeling of my hair standing on end – just as it had when I saw the news report – then, and now.
    That was then and this is now, but the feelings and memories are flooding back and my heart goes out to the family and friends of the SS Columbia. With hopes and prayers for a future that will remember their efforts, I bow my head and cry for those who will miss them now.
    In reflection,

  23. 5 days after the anniversary of Apollo…
    4 days after the anniversary of Challenger…
    This tragedy has rendered me speechless. :(
    Thank you for the quote, Wil. It’s beautiful.

  24. I remember the date very clearly. January 28, 1986.
    I was in my Grade 9 Social Studies class waiting to take an exam. My teacher came in the room and said, in an almost offhand manner, “the space shuttle just exploded.” I thought that she was joking. After the test (I cant recall if I passed it or nor), we went to the gymnasium and got the news officially from the principal. I spent the rest of the day and evening watching the news coverage.
    Later that year, I was sitting in a movie theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada waiting to watch Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and some text came on the screen that I will always remember:
    The cast and crew of Star Trek wish to dedicate this film to the men and women of the spaceship Challenger, whose courageous spirit shall live to the 23rd century and beyond…”
    It sucked then.
    It sucks now.
    May God bless the brave souls of STS-107.

  25. I hope that people will honor the shuttle crew by celebrating their lives, knowing that they died doing something that they felt was incredibly important and beneficial to all mankind.

  26. I remember the Challenger- at the tender age of 13.
    Today is another sad day to but in the notebooks- as We all pause for a moment of silence and pray for the familes of the Crew- My heart goes out to them.

    -Guy- that picture is the correct picture-

  27. My prayers are with the families and friends of the 6 Americans and one Israeli who lost lost their lives today.
    My prayers are especially with the country of Israel who today lost their first astronaut!

  28. I am not old enough to remember anything about the Challenger other than vague images. Now, this falling shuttle has served to make me understand that piece of history of which I had very little grasp beforehand.
    To address James: I think this is the way we should react when anyone dies, no matter what the conditions. We should not be used to death. Once we begin to be unfeeling on such a thing, then we lose our humanity. I agree that the newstations are sensationalizing this event to some extent, and am disappointed that this is truly seen as such a “profitable” tragidy. But let us never, ever become so heartless as to not react to tragedies. And you have an excellent point that we do not react to the tragedies of others as well as we should. I am not an american, but I share close kinship with them as a canadian. And this is a time to sit back and think of how lucky we are to have what we have. And despite this being a great tragedy, those people died living out their dream; how many more die daily simply because they do not have enough food?
    Unfortunately, this event will soon fade and North America will again enter into the lifestyle of years past. We are all touched right now, but we should really allow this event to help us change how we live.
    I greive for the families and friends. But I also send my heart out to the millions of families effected by other tragedies, those which we call common.

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