Let me clarify. Space is already cool. It always was.
However, the space industry is in a tough spot right now, and people forget just how cool space really is. With the Moon landing decades behind us and the Space Shuttle being retired, NASA has lost a bit of its luster. The agency is receiving a half-penny on every tax dollar and commercial space companies, while exciting and inspiring, are still in their infant stages.
Nonetheless, “space” is fresh on the heels of the comic book explosion, inching its way back onto the front page of pop culture. Take a look around the internet at what’s hot right now, and you’ll see “nerd culture” at the top of the cool chain.
Just this past weekend, Comic Con sold out in under five minutes. Comic books, superheroes, and science fiction are blossoming in this amazing time when we have the CGI technology to take these rich stories and turn them into visual masterpieces.
The year 2012 alone threw the space industry a whole bunch of cool points with the Mars Curiosity Rover, especially JPL’s “Mohawk Guy” Bobak Ferdowsi, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, the rise to fame of Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson, and parodies of popular songs like the Johnson Space Center’s students’ “NASA Johnson Style” and Satire’s “We’re NASA and we know it.”
Stars, nebulae, and planet prints have made their way onto thousands of products, including clothing, gadget cases, and decor. Facebook pages, twitter accounts, and blogs all about space pop up every day.
2013 has already shown promise for space with multiple astronomical discoveries, further action of commercial companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, social media meetups and campaigns, fun with the International Space Station (including current commander Chris Hadfield’s song recording and reddit AMA from his ISS post), the Axe Apollo competition for a trip to space, comet Ison burning bright, and much more excitement on the way.