As a child I was obsessed with two things: outer space and dinosaurs. Two very normal points of interest for growing brains and for not too dissimilar reasons.
I've carried that appreciation and wonder into adulthood, into a more adult fashion of wonder (IE more reading and less drawing with crayons). I'm not formally trained in science but that doesn't stop me from taking my time to read science journals on archeology or new data on dark matter research. It takes me a little longer to dissect the "heavier" portions but I've turned it into something of a hobby.
I'm not nearly old enough to have watched the moon landings or any of our early forays into space (my earliest Nasa related memory is the Challenger explosion, I was five). I've seen the Apollo and Gemini videos hundreds of times, sifted through the mountain photographs and listened to the audio from mission control more times then I can remember.
Those were my childhood heroes. Grissom, Lovell, Armstrong, Bean, Shepard, Conrad...names that most American's have at least heard once or twice. While other kids were emulating popular sports stars I was geeking out on moon walks.
Today I find myself conflicted about one of these childhood idols: Edgar Mitchell.
Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
"he says extra-terrestrials have visited Earth on several occasions - but the alien contact has been repeatedly covered up by governments for six decades.
Dr Mitchell, 77, said during a radio interview that sources at the space agency who had had contact with aliens described the beings as 'little people who look strange to us.'
He said supposedly real-life ET's were similar to the traditional image of a small frame, large eyes and head."
This isn't the first time we've heard astronauts or Nasa employees speak on the subject (sts80 crew member Story Musgrave is another recent example). From Apollo on up a handful of people have claim everything from having worked on alien tech, seeing things in space, right down to having seen 'aliens' in the flesh.
I have a hard time digesting things like this. Yes, I do believe that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, perhaps even advanced. I do think it's terribly unlikely we've been noticed or even 'visited' by some super advanced aliens. The whole 'government alien conspiracy' thing just doesn't work for me. Maybe I have my bullshit-radar set too high or I'm just too damn stubborn but when I hear these sorts of things my instant reaction is "bullshit, lets see some evidence".
All I can do is sigh and take it with a grain of salt unless we get some serious data or evidence. Even Nasa coming out to say "yes, we do know aliens exist and we're leaving it at that" would do it for me. Such claims in the past have brought nothing at all to light (aside from giving conspiracy theorists something else to gnaw on) and I can only assume this will do the same.
I'd love to see the day when someone comes out and says "yep, sorry guys...we've been hanging out with E.T. here for like 60 years. He's pretty a pretty nice guy!" Then had him/her (it?) come on stage and give a speech or something. Who's to say what it would do for society and global affairs en large but at least my childhood heroes would be admonished.
At least T-Rex has yet to let me down...