I was eight years old when I destroyed the box that my first telescope came in. I then extracted the foot long black cylinder like a surgeon, careful not to damage anything. That National Geographic telescope was my first lens to the word beyond our atmosphere. That black cylinder with a tripod taller than me was what sparked my interest in the moon, the stars, and the planets.
Since then, my telescope has evolved into a three foot long blue cylinder constructed by Meade. This one was a present from my grandmother, who always supported my interest in outer space and has continued to facilitate it. This telescope allows me to look farther beyond and it can find anything among the faint white blips in the darkness. When I first used it, I could see the moon in such a crisp image, I could feel the craters with my eyes. The sun cast shadows across the terrain, just like it would on earth. I noticed how empty the vast, gray landscape was. After discovering how magnificent the color gray can be, I moved on to the beige ball that was Saturn. It was a small little circle in my lens, with little wings on it, an effect of the rings. Then Jupiter, slightly bigger circle but with wonderful swirls of red, orange, and white. It looks so tranquil from here even though I know deep down that those are violent storms. I found it amazing that the two largest planets in our solar system now had the radius of a few centimeters.
This experience is what led me to plunge into the world of astronomy, physics and astronautics. By the time I was 14, I had my heart set on aerospace engineering with the hopes of being an engineer or even an astronaut. I now have a membership to the Adler Planetarium and an addiction to SpaceX newsfeeds. I have a hunger to discover as much as possible about the vast darkness out there, all driven by my curiosity. A curiosity derived from just gazing at the planets and coming to the realization that we know so little about what’s out there. The realization that space is the new frontier and I am smack dab in the generation to explore it. Outer space gives me a sense of wonder, a sense of curiosity, and a sense of lust to attain answers. It all started with that foot long black cylinder that gave me a sense of wonder.