September 2, 1948 – January 28, 1986
The public school systems of Utah Valley have for decades now been sending their students to the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove. Take your average Utahn and try asking them about the Spaceship simulation field trip. They won't remember the name of the place. They might not remember who Christa McAuliffe was by name or anything about the Challenger Space Shuttle, but they will vividly recall their position aboard the starship.
Some will tell you about their experience playing laser tag in the dark hallways as ship security. Some will remember their contribution as the communications officer. Me? I went to the center in 7th grade and I was chosen as our captain.
We went with a class of 8th graders on a field trip and this was such a triumphant moment in my career in space. They kept statistics for us on damage taken, speed in completing the mission etc. Me and my prepubescent crew beat those 8th graders too. We beat 'em good. They made fun of me after because apparently when under pressure I stroke my chin whether there is a goatie there...or just some peach fuzz.
I loved that place though at the time I was bored and annoyed by Star Trek. The sentiments of my fellows on the perimeter of the Utah lake are the same I have found. Everybody loved this place and I wish so much that there were more recreational places like it. I plan to have satellite facilities of The Lunar Island equipped with these sorts of educational simulations not only for astronomy but geological journeys to the center of the earth and zoological simulated safaris and biological Frankenstein laboratories or whatever else. The varied possibilities of recreation are far too great for the timid masses to rule leisure with the basest stimuli of food, alcohol, lazy banter and lazier sensory input. There are so many more untapped universals with which to relate to one another.