While one could argue that we have not fully explored the oceans, the truly great frontier is outer space. Throughout our history, the Farmers’ Almanac has dealt with the moon, sun, constellations, and their impact on earth. Civilization has always dreamed. The early dreamers thought in terms of getting man off the ground. Finally, Wilbur and Orville Wright experimented at Kitty Hawk with kites, gliders, and even a wind tunnel to test different wing designs. The Wright brothers built the first working airplane, and made their historic launch in 1903.
For great explorers, it is never good enough to take one step. You have to continually push the envelop and go farther and farther. In the early 1960s John Kennedy challenged Americans to land on the moon by the end of the decade. On February 20th, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s first orbit of earth in a tiny capsule called Friendship 7. By today’s standard, the first Wright flight and the first orbit of Earth seem rather meager accomplishments. But, at the time Orville, Wilbur, John and all the people working with them took enormous risks to do what no man (or woman) had ever done before,.
On Monday, we salute John Glenn (and NASA) for his heroic efforts. This first trip wasn’t good enough for him. As you may recall, he had to do it again as the oldest astronaut — age 77 — aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1998. Many of the things we take for granted are the result of extraordinary efforts by pioneers. Monday, we honor all of our pioneers for getting us this far and offer encouragement to those individuals who will continue the dream to new planets and solar systems. In some ways the journey has just begun.