Tuesday, March 5, 2013

NASA Month: Remembering the Challenger

All this month, I'm NASA! This means every weekday in March will feature a new post about NASA, and I'm hosting a giant giveaway in order to encourage people to spread the NASA love. For more information on the giveaway, check out this post.

Today we have a special guest post by author and fellow League member Mindy McGinnis! She's posting about the Challenger disaster, my earliest memory of a national tragedy.

Remembering the Challenger
by Mindy McGinnis

I was only in kindergarten when the Challenger exploded, but I remember it clearly because it was my first experience of chaos.

When you're five, you believe that adults know everything, control everything, and can fix anything. I got off the bus on January 28, 1986 to find my mother crying, which was shocking enough on its own. The worst thing my child-brain could conceive of was that one of our pets had died, but she explained what had happened over my snack.

I remember what kind of jelly was on my PB&J. I remember what my juice box looked like. I remember that my tiny tummy folded up on itself and refused to eat anything else.

I suddenly understood that adults could die. Even worse, a teacher - a type of adult I thought of as being super-human - was just as susceptible to a random accident as anyone else. I peeked at the TV while the Challenger exploded over and over, at a complete loss to wrap my thoughts around what had happened. There was nothing to recover, no one to save. Nobody could do anything to help.

For the longest time this is what space meant to me - danger, chaos and helplessness. I couldn't believe that anyone would ever try to go into space again, after seeing the shuttle explode.

But people did... and my perception of space began to change. As I grew older it represented amazing courage and human ingenuity. It meant that there were people brave enough to strap themselves onto a rocket in the name of science, secure in the knowledge that the people who had built it were confident that it was safe.

I'm still never going to get on a shuttle, I admit. Even if that option were open to me, my fear of heights has ruled space travel out. I think the experience of seeing our planet from space would be so surreal that my mind couldn't grasp it in any case, and so I'll settle for subscribing to National Geographic...

... until we use up all our freshwater and have to go find another blue planet.


Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost non-existent, available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins September 10, 2013. She blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire and contributes to the group blogs Book PregnantFriday the ThirteenersFrom the Write AngleThe Class of 2k13The Lucky 13s & The League of Extraordinary Writers. You can also find her on TwitterTumblr & Facebook.

NOT A DROP TO DRINK coming September 10, 2013 from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins.


This post is a part of the month-long celebration of NASA I'm hosting on my blog. In order to encourage people to celebrate NASA, I'm also hosting a giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive all the books in the recent Breathless Reads tour, as well as ARCs of two anthologies and a signed Breathless Reads poster:

As well as swag from NASA, courtesy of Kate @ Ex Libris:

To celebrate NASA creatively: you could blog about why you like NASA, you could reach out to an astronaut for an interview, you could make space fan art, you could sing a song about NASA, you do a vlog, you make a list of all the ways NASA rocks...any of this counts! Just celebrate NASA in some awesome way, post it online, and include the link in the Rafflecopter. I even set that part of the entry open for multiple entries, so you could blog and vlog and Facebook and tumblr and Pinterest about NASA and they all count. The only requirements: post a link back to this contest, and put the full URL of the site in the Rafflecopter. Full details here.

To enter: be sure to read the full rules and terms of the contest here. Then fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I was in elementary school and remember the Challenger exploding. They had put out a big TV in the library and a large group of students had gathered there to watch the launch. I still remember the way the library looked and where the TV was. How the smoke looked on the screen. And the way no one said anything at all for a long time.

BBC said...

Kayeleen - yes, I remember reading years later that many, many classrooms were watching it live. As an educator, I can't imagine handling that situation.