The Boy Who Would Never Stop Looking Up
My name is Kevin Rojas and I am a student at New York City College o f Technology. I am following a path in the mechanical engineering field. My desired goal is to someday work at NASA, designing rockets and or space shuttles that go up into space. Becoming an astronaut would be a huge plus. My fascination with space has always followed me in my life. I’ve always had a habit of looking up at the night sky not knowing what to make of it until I eventually decided to invest in a better way of staring into the unknown. From acquiring my first telescope, to watching meteor showers, to eventually visiting the Kennedy Space Center, my curiosity with space intensified.
When I was younger I always stared up at the night sky blankly without any idea of what I was staring at. I just knew that there some kind of attraction to the dark void that hovered all over us. I learned all of the star constellations, location of planets, and directions of where far off galaxies or other celestial bodies were. I always tuned in onto shows like Cosmos or NOVA and sit there glued to the tv. My friends would always talk about their favorite cartoon shows from when they were kids, and don’t get me wrong, I have some of my own as well. But I like to remember these shows about science and to a greater and major extent, space more than then the cartoon shows because I feel a greater importance and value behind the knowledge I acquired from watching them. I was about nine years old and my parents noticed how much of a space-obsessed kid I was by then and decided to thankfully reinforce my curiosity and they bought me a telescope. It wasn’t all too fancy or big, but it was enough for what I wanted to see back then. Its lenses power was strong enough to see Betelgeuse, a decently far away star. But the telescope finally allowed me to see far into space and see the beautiful astronomical bodies in more detail. I was in awe when I first peered through my telescope on a crisp and clear October night. From then on I would routinely use my telescope almost every week on Friday nights. Of course, whenever there were special events such as eclipses or comets, I’d watch them too. Now I have upgraded to a more advanced and fancy looking telescope that has a powerful lenses, which allows me to see really far. Thus, acquiring my first telescope helped my fascination with space grow even more.
Only two years after getting my first telescope I already had seen most of the constellations and planets in our solar system or at least I thought I did. My friend who also shares the same interest as me at the time told me about the idea of watching a meteor shower. At this point in time, I knew what meteors were and that there are events where they would fall down to the earth and scatter all around. But I had already missed the past two meteor showers due to unfortunate coincidences of having to do other things. However, once my friend told me about the one coming at the end of the summer I had to plan everything out where I wouldn’t miss it no matter what. Now with watching a meteor shower you also need a good location where there is little to no light surrounding you. Hence, my parents decided to take me to the Poconos where we have a cabin to stay in in the forest. I brought my telescope, which was a newer model compared to the first one I got and I was ready to watch the meteor shower. I knew that to some people watching something like this might be a waste of time since its just debris of an outer space rock falling to the Earth, but I like to see it that it’s an astronomical phenomenon that we are lucky to witness as a species. Once there, it was already nightfall and I quickly set up my telescope next to the car not waiting to miss anything. I peered through the telescope and immediately saw the meteors streaking across the night sky. I was mesmerized at the sight. I wouldn’t look anywhere else but up at the sky through my telescope. I counted more than twelve meteor like fragments entering our atmosphere. Standing there I realized that I this is what would define me as a person. The love for what is up in the dark void we call space is something I have and would like to grow more and more of through experiences like these.
The Kennedy Space Center is a place of much respect and high caliber. It’s the location of NASA’s launching sequences and to the general public where the rockets or space shuttles lift off into space. It’s the closest I’ve ever gotten thus far in my life to witnessing the whole NASA experience. I luckily got to go here when I went on a cruise to the Bahamas. I knew that the ship would stop down in Florida so I had already had my parents buy the tickets before hand. Once we stopped in Port Canaveral we immediately took a shuttle bus to the center and arrived there really early in the day. It was a pretty hot day and once we entered the center there was a full blast of the AC. Once I was inside the facility I quickly became a kid at a toy store. I laid my eyes on every old decommissioned space shuttle or rocket that was on display. I also ventured into the zero gravity rooms where you could experience a weightlessness sensation in a zero gravity chamber. The moon landing exhibit was the most exciting part in my opinion. It really made me feel like as a species we’ve come a long way. It was an inspirational experience because humans went from hunting using sharp sticks to engineering large scale rocketships and exploring space. It was at this moment that I had figured out my true purpose or desired goal in life. I would like to ultimately experience what Lance Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin went through during their expedition to the moon. I knew that a pinnacle moment in my life would be achieving this and I never felt so determined on anything in life as much as I did that day.
Space is such a beautiful collection of things in all of existence. Our planet Earth is a mere speck in the luscious ever expanding art that is the universe. Exploring the whole universe would take an infinite amount time. Of course, if one were to explore the whole universe it would be impossible due it growing. However, we’re getting farther and farther away from our planet. Either through humans going up there or sending highly advanced rockets, we’re advancing technologically speaking and I’m excited for the future as to what I’m in store when I work for NASA. Studying here at City Tech, I believe this to be my first stepping stone of many to come. With working at NASA as my final step in goals that I’d like to achieve, I have to make my own correct path that I see fit in order to reach it. I must not lose hope and focus on the main goal. Hence, I believe that I will make it to NASA.