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My Nikkel's Worth column: Heading to the final frontier

Review editor Greg Nikkel suggests residents shouldn't be surprised if someday a local student finds herself heading out to space.

If you are a nerd like me, your heart thrills to hear the voice of William Shatner or Patrick Stewart pronounce the words, “Space … the final frontier …”

From a young age, I’ve loved science fiction, with tales of voyages into space and dramatic stories in galaxies far, far away. Unlike some, I love both the Star Trek worlds and Star Wars, and even other adventures in space, like “The Orville” or movies like “Gravity” or “The Martian”.

And why is this? As an eight-year-old boy (and here, I’m dating myself a little bit), our family had just moved to Western Canada and were visiting my aunt and uncle in Regina when Neil Armstrong and company were the first humans to land on the moon in July of 1969.

I had no real aspirations to be an astronaut, but this is part of the enjoyment of being an avid reader and movie buff: I can get into adventures and experiences out in space, and imagine what that must be like, to see Earth from above.

While I love stories like Star Trek, I also enjoy movies like Gravity, which show in a somewhat realistic manner what it must be like to be in the vacuum of space – and also, how terrifying that can be with the lack of air and gravity, not to mention the dangers of meteorites or other debris, depending on what you’re doing.

Weyburn has a unique connection to space this week, as WCS graduate and U of S engineering student Arliss Sidloski is going to see the culmination of the work of herself and the U of S Space Team, plus many others at the school.

They are heading to Florida, to the Kennedy Space Center, to see the launch of the first satellite to be built, tested, and deployed into space from Saskatchewan.

Maybe in larger centres this might not be a big deal, but I think this is really cool for Arliss and for the program, to have this connection to the first satellite, and to know it will be deployed from the International Space Station in July.

It maybe isn’t quite the same as actually being on the rocket and going into space, but it’s the next best thing, as Arliss and her team will then be monitoring what the cube satellite is picking up as it orbits the Earth.

And who knows, but this might put this brilliant Weyburn girl on the path to someday being on a rocket heading out into space. You never know …