I Remember When Astronauts Were Cool

Sam Shepherd as Chuck Yeager
Astronauts dressed as jedi
Chuck Yeager wept

This does nothing to dispel the belief that NASA is wasting our money, nor does it help put any of the glamour back into space exploration. Instead of heroes of exploration, we’ve got astronerds on their way to a SciFi-Con in Dayton.

If you’re too young remember when astronauts were cool, your homework is to read Tom Wolfe’s masterpiece, The Right Stuff, and then watch the movie of the same name.

After that, read Andrew Chakin’s A Man on the Moon for the definitive account of the moon program. And for the true, primary-sources history geek, here’s NASA’s public archives. (Check out the First Lady Astronaut Trainee program.) These recommendations would only be a starting place for someone who was interested in this topic as a research project, as there are thousands of things worthy of attention, from astronaut autobiographies to film archives.

The history of manned spaceflight is heroic. Astronauts cos-playing characters from children’s movies is not.